Rugby League: Laughton signs cut-price Gregory

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The Independent Online
ANDY GREGORY, the Wigan and Great Britain scrum-half, has signed for Leeds. The man with 26 international caps, who is rated one of the greatest in his position, has been snapped up for a cut- price pounds 30,000.

The 30-year-old Gregory could not agree terms with Wigan when he returned injured from this summer's British tour. Leeds moved in for him yesterday after failing to reach agreement over a fee for another tour scrum-half, Deryck Fox, from Featherstone Rovers.

'Featherstone were not living in the real world,' the Leeds coach, Doug Laughton, said. 'Wigan were in the real world, so we were able to do business.'

Leeds have signed Gregory on a one-year incentive contract and will have to pay Wigan an extra pounds 15,000 if he plays more than a season for them. Laughton believes that Gregory, apart from adding half-back skills that are hard to match anywhere in the world, will help groom the promising 18-year-old, Gareth Stephens, as his successor.

Laughton was also hoping to move closer last night to signing the Penrith and Australia second row, Mark Geyer. Like Gregory, Geyer will be offered a contract that rewards him on a match-by- match basis.

Bradford Northern have signed David Watson, the New Zealand international suspended for three months after testing positive for cannabis while playing for Halifax last season. The club has paid pounds 33,000 - well below Watson's market value.

'It is a risk,' the Bradford secretary, Gary Tasker, said. 'Our coach, Peter Fox, wants to bring him to the club to rehabilitate him and we hope he responds to that. If he does, we have a bargain.'

Watson's suspension means that he will not be able to play until the start of November.

Sheffield Eagles yesterday celebrated their return to the top flight by announcing a club- record sponsorship deal with Whitbread. The one-year package will be worth more than pounds 50,000.