Rugby League: Larder holds out hope for Eagles

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The Independent Online
The sacked Sheffield Eagles coach, Phil Larder, has predicted that they will turn the corner and begin to climb the table under his successor.

Larder was replaced by his assistant, John Kear, this week after only 10 Super League matches in charge.

"Nothing surprises me in coaching, because you are at the mercy of chief executives and directors," he said. "But I'm disappointed that this has been done at this stage.

Larder, who is still the incumbent Great Britain coach, said that he remained available to continue in that role if asked. "I'm not ruling myself out of anything, although I do feel that I need a few weeks off," he said.

Kear, preparing for a run of three games in eight days to start his career as first-team coach, agrees with Larder's assessment.

"The foundations are in place and it is now up to us to take the team to greater heights," he said. Kear's first match in charge is against Halifax this evening and he makes no changes to the side that won in Paris in Larder's last game.

The Bradford Bulls have spent the pounds 70,000 they received from Huddersfield for Paul Cook on the Dewsbury centre Kevin Crouthers. They will be without their Australian centre or stand-off, Graeme Bradley, for tonight's match against Oldham. Bradley has been suspended for one game for a high tackle on Warrington's Nigel Vagana.

Andy Northey, also cited after being placed on report at the weekend, has been banned for four matches for kneeing Martin Offiah in the back during St Helens' match against the London Broncos. He remained available for Saints' fixture at Salford last night because his suspension did not start until midnight.

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