Rugby League: London to pipe aboard Sailor

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The Independent Online
The London Broncos are to bring one of the most exciting players in the world to the club with the signing of Wendell Sailor.

The Brisbane winger or second-row is to arrive in London next month and will make his debut against Oldham on 27 October, the eve of the Halifax Centenary World Cup final at Wembley. Sailor will have to return to Australia in January.

"Although he will only be with us for a short time, he is such a charismatic player that he will play a big part in raising the profile of the club and the game in London," said the Broncos' chairman, Barry Maranta.

The club's image took a knock yesterday, however, when another of the leading players it shares with Brisbane, Julian O'Neill, was fined pounds 650 and banned from driving for 18 months after failing a breath test almost three years ago. O'Neill was charged while playing for Widnes, but returned to Australia and failed to appear in court.

A policeman involved in the case was in the crowd when the Broncos played at Oldham on Wednesday night, recognised O'Neill and asked the Oldham police to arrest him. They did so and he appeared in Widnes magistrates' court yesterday.

Esene Faimalo, the Leeds prop, is almost certainly out of Western Samoa's World Cup squad after undergoing an operation for a suspected detached retina. Faimalo could be out for up to three months, according to Leeds' football manager, Hugh McGahan.

Samoa will also lose another player if Vila Matautia, sent off in St Helens' match against Warrington, is suspended at his disciplinary hearing next week.

Leeds are also without Alan Tait, Kevin Iro and Richie Eyres for their match against Bradford Bulls tonight, but Garry Schofield is fit and the new signing from Wigan, Barrie McDermott, makes his debut.

The Bradford coach, Brian Smith, has had talks this week with Paul Newlove, the unsettled Great Britain centre who misses the match with a hamstring injury. "I don't want a player here who doesn't want to work with me," Smith said.

Brad Fittler, Australia's captain-elect for the World Cup, has become probably the highest-paid player in the world by agreeing a five-year contract, worth almost pounds 350,000 a year, with the Sydney City Roosters.

The Australian Rugby League will announce its World Cup squad on Sunday night, after taking legal advice on a court ruling that it must consider players from the Super League.