Rugby league: Hay injury hampers Leeds

Click to follow
The Independent Online
ANDY HAY is out of Leeds' Silk Cut Challenge Cup semi-final against Bradford on Sunday. The in-form second-rower broke a hand in the defeat by Wigan on Friday night and will be on the sidelines for three or four weeks.

The news is a blow to Leeds' preparations, but their coach, Graham Murray, hopes that his other casualties will be fit for the match at Huddersfield. Adrian Morley, Anthony Farrell, Richie Blackmore, Brad Godden and Marcus St Hilaire are all fighting for fitness. "I am hopeful that they will all be fit and I will be giving them as long as possible before finalising the team," Murray said.

The other semi-finalists have their own injury problems, with knee injury victim Danny Orr regarded as doubtful for Castleford's side to meet London on Saturday.

"We're hoping he can come through," said his coach, Stuart Raper. "We will give him until Friday and keep our fingers crossed."

Raper is more confident that Dean Sampson and his brother, Aaron Raper, will be available after also picking up injuries in the match at Warrington.

London's prop, Grant Young, had an operation yesterday to pin the leg fracture that will rule him out for the season, while another front-rower, Darren Bradstreet, is to have a shoulder reconstruction this week. Bradstreet was also thought to be out for the season, but said yesterday: "The surgeon has told me that I could be back with six rounds of matches to play."

That still leaves the Broncos desperately short of props in the medium term but a move for Phil Adamson, who appears to be on the fringes at St Helens, is not likely to be followed up. The former Penrith prop cannot get into Saints' team, but London have been put off by the size of his contract at Knowsley Road.

Andy Gregory has again pulled back from the brink after threatening to resign as coach of Salford. Gregory, the longest-serving coach in the British game, said he was considering his future after Salford's defeat at Wakefield on Sunday. "I said what I did because I care about the club," he said yesterday. "I was totally, totally dismayed, but a lot of the lads have asked me not to leave, along with the coaching staff. All I want now is to put a team out that takes two points off Warrington in the next game. That can't come soon enough for me."

The game's governing body, the Rugby Football League, has rebranded itself in a way that emphasises its custodianship of the code. It has launched a new logo, along with a slogan, "Love this Game," that echoes the National Rugby League's "I love my footy," with which it has tried to win back hearts and minds in Australia.

"It seeks to unite everyone who loves rugby league, in whatever way, in whatever part of the country, however the game is played," said the RFL's chief executive, Neil Tunnicliffe, of the campaign.

The former Halifax coach and Australian Test winger, Chris Anderson, has become his country's new coach. Anderson, who has been in charge of the Melbourne Storm's successful entry into the NRL, takes over from Wayne Bennett, who resigned because of the Brisbane Broncos' bad start to the season after just two Tests. Others, such as Phil Gould and the former Hull and Bradford coach, Brian Smith, ruled themselves out of consideration, but Anderson said: "After 30 years in the game, coaching Australia is the highest honour I could have.

"I can't understand why people wouldn't want it."

Comments