Rugby League: Hull call Harrison back to the pack

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The Independent Online
HULL HAVE continued their rebuilding for next season by signing the veteran prop Karl Harrison for a second time. The 34-year-old former Great Britain front rower, released by Halifax at the end of the season, has agreed a one-year deal to return to the club where he first came to the fore as a member of Brian Smith's powerful pack in the early 1990s.

Harrison, the Halifax captain and an ever-present in Super League this year, is determined to prove that he still has what it takes at the highest level. "He will be a big asset for us in Super League," the Hull coach, Peter Walsh, said. "He will bolster a pack that struggled at times last season and give us the experience that we lacked."

He joins Matt Calland, the centre signed from Bradford last week, among Hull's recruits. The club also plans to announce three more signings, two of them from overseas, over the next fortnight. One of the overseas players is the Illawarra hooker, Andrew Purcell, targeted by Walsh for one of Hull's problem positions.

There could be one player leaving, however, with the former Great Britain centre, Alan Hunte, due to talk to Northampton this week. Hunte arrived from St Helens last season but has failed to make the impact expected at the Boulevard. He is now in line to agree a contract that would be part-funded by the Rugby Football Union.

Although Northampton are favourites to be the club involved in the package, Saracens could also be in the hunt now that they have missed out on Gary Connolly, who has re-signed for Wigan.

Halifax, having released Harrison, are now likely to miss out on Wigan's Terry O'Connor, who looks like staying at the club, but they hope to revive their interest in two other Wigan players, Darryl Cardiss and Stephen Holgate.

Huddersfield have joined the race for the former Wigan stand-off, Nigel Wright, who has yet to reach a settlement over Wigan's decision to release him on medical grounds.

The Super League new boys Gateshead Thunder have signed the London-born twins Richard and Sean Allwood from Brisbane Broncos. The 20-year-old brothers have both represented Queensland schools, with Sean earning an Australian under-19 cap against New Zealand earlier this season. Gateshead will make their Super League bow against Grand Finalists Leeds Rhinos in March and their chief executive, Shane Richardson, is confident that his new recruits will be up to the challenge.

"Richard and Sean already have proven track records," he said. "Although they are young I'm confident the Allwoods are going to make a big impact in Super League IV and ensure that the Thunder's forwards are one of the toughest packs around."

Rugby Football League officials yesterday renewed the peace pact with the amateur game that they hope will unlock the door to lucrative Sports Council funding. The Rugby League Joint Policy Board, formed just over 12 months ago to unify the amateur and professional wings of the sport under the chairmanship of the Sports Council chief Sir Rodney Walker, have signed a new five-year agreement.

The Board, set up to avert the damaging rows of the past, received an interim pounds 250,000 grant for 1998.

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