Rugby League: Hanley to face Saints' lawyers

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The Independent Online
ELLERY HANLEY will face St Helens and their legal advisers today, with his tenuous future as the club's coach on the table.

Hanley and his solicitor are to meet the Saints chairman, Howard Morris, and the club's lawyers in Manchester. That will be followed by a board meeting where the decision could be made to sack Hanley, who is suspended on full pay following his verbal attacks on them.

"It's a without-prejudice meeting and we're just waiting to hear what they have to say," Hanley's solicitor, Richard Cramer, said.

One possibility is that Saints might make an offer of a financial settlement, subject to some form of gagging clause to silence Hanley's criticism.

Even if Saints can strike such a deal, it will only further inflame their supporters, who demonstrated vociferously in Hanley's favour during and after the match against Hull on Sunday.

The extent of that backing will not have been lost on Hanley. "He is very touched by the strength of the support he has been given," Cramer said.

Warrington are closing in on Paul Broadbent, Halifax's Great Britain prop who is looking for a new club as a result of their financial difficulties.

The deal to bring Broadbent to Wilderspool seemed to have fallen through over the player's unwillingness to move from Yorkshire, but the Warrington coach, Darryl Van de Velde, now says that progress has been made.

Meanwhile, Warrington have rejected an offer from Leeds for their centre, Jon Roper, as inadequate. Leeds have switched their attention to Roper because of the high price that Sheffield have put on Keith Senior.

The Rugby League is to conduct further enquiries into Sheffield's game against Wakefield Trinity on Sunday which saw six players sent to the sin-bin and one, Wakefield's Glen Tomlinson, sent off.

Three others were placed on report, with Sheffield's Karl Lovell being cited for striking, but the League might take more general action against one or both of the clubs after viewing further video evidence.

London's Peter Gill is also to appear at a disciplinary hearing today on a high tackling charge.

Super League says that it is bemused by claims from the Rugby League's chief executive, Neil Tunnicliffe, that someone from their organisation tried to persuade a potential sponsor not to support next year's World Cup.

The League said yesterday that it stands by the accusation. "It [Super League] has made a potential subsidiary sponsor think again about getting involved," a spokesman said.

Halifax have signed the Balmain prop, James Gannon, who is expected to arrive within the next fortnight and will be on trial for the rest of the season. They are also chasing the former New Zealand Test stand-off, Gene Ngamu, for next year following the decision of the Auckland Warriors not to retain him.