Rugby League: Leeds agree to sign Goodway

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The Independent Online
LEEDS have agreed to buy Andy Goodway from Wigan, expanding their colony of players from the club they hope to emulate, writes Dave Hadfield.

Goodway was placed on the transfer list at his own request after being left out of the squad for last night's match at Sheffield. The two clubs have agreed a nominal fee, with staged payments to follow when the forward, who has 23 international caps, reaches set numbers of appearances.

Leeds, who already have his former team-mates, Ellery Hanley, Andy Gregory and Shaun Wane, on their books, were finalising terms with Goodway last night. The signing might look a risk, but their coach, Doug Laughton, said: 'Although he is 31 and just back after a broken arm, he is a good pro, who has kept himself very fit.'

Laughton is also pursuing the Australian Test second-row forward, Bob Lindner, to add to a squad that features the debut players, Alan Tait, Jim Fallon, Gregory, Gary Mercer and Mick Worrall, in the side to play St Helens tomorrow.

Saints will still keepclosely to the line-up that beat Wigan in the Charity Shield last week, although Sonny Nickle, recovered from the leg injury that forced him home from the Great Britain tour, replaces George Mann.

Elsewhere, the first day of the season will be notable for debuts, especially of players sold by Leeds this summer. Phil Ford, swapped for Worrall, makes his first appearance for Salford against Hull KR. Bobby Goulding, 20, starts with his third club, Widnes, facing Castleford, while Gary Divorty and John Bentley make their bow for Halifax at Wakefield Trinity.

Wakefield face a depressing start to the season, with long-term injuries depriving them of Michael Jackson, Gary Price, Paul Round and Billy Conway. They do have their new Australian centre, Peter Benson, in the squad, but even he has a dose of flu and a back injury.

Greg Mackey makes his return at Leigh for Warrington, who have forgiven his walkout two years ago, but Kevin Ellis has returned later than the club would have liked from a holiday in Australia, so Robert Turner partners Mackey at stand-off.