Rugby League: Huddersfield seek cash injection

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By DAVE HADFIELD

HUDDERSFIELD, STINGING from their worst defeat of the season, want to stop being the poor men of Super League.

The club is fighting with one hand tied behind its back, without a share of the News Corporation money to finance its efforts to become competitive.

"We don't want to be moaning minnies," said their chairman, Ken Davy. "But it has been very difficult to compete when something we were expecting to receive hasn't happened. We are not even getting as much as we did last season."

Huddersfield volunteered to come into Super League this season as an extra club without the same funding as other sides. "But we replaced Paris as the 12th team and expected to be funded accordingly," said Davy. "We are working towards a settlement with the Rugby League for this season and we will get our full share next year."

Davy is in no hurry to make a new coaching appointment, following the dismissal of Garry Schofield two weeks ago, but says the interest in the job is a vote of confidence.

"We are very encouraged by the amount of interest shown in the vacancy, including some very high-profile people," said Davy.

The caretaker-coach, Phil Veivers, has declared himself a candidate, but his most immediate task is to rebuild morale after the 68-18 defeat at St Helens.

Sheffield Eagles have called a press conference for today to allay any fears that their coach, John Kear, might be on his way to St Helens.

Paul Rowley, of Halifax, and Castleford's forward, Michael Smith, have been told they have no case to answer after incidents for which they were placed on report at the weekend.

Almost a fifth of players polled by the Australian magazine, Rugby League Week, say that they have been offered a performance-enhancing drug. More still, 23 per cent compared with 17 per cent, say they are aware of clubs where officials have run drug programmes.

The findings have deepened concern about how deep the drugs problem runs in the game in Australia. Four prominent players, three of them from the ARL champions, the Newcastle Knights, have been caught using steroids and suspended this season.

Two of Australia's biggest clubs, Parramatta and Penrith, are set to merge. Along with the amalgamations of St George and Illawarra, South Sydney and Cronulla, plus others in the pipeline, that will put high quality players on the market.

Gateshead, Cardiff and Swansea, whose applications for franchises will be ruled upon next week, will all see that as strengthening their case.

The Rugby League is close to finalising a deal with Granada and Yorkshire Television to screen First Division matches next summer.

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