Rugby League: Lydon to step in for Steadman

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THE failure of the Castleford full-back, Graham Steadman, to shake off an ankle injury means that Joe Lydon, of Wigan, will wear the No 1 shirt for Great Britain in the World Cup final at Wembley tomorrow, writes Dave Hadfield.

Steadman, Great Britain's Test full- back throughout this summer's tour, was ruled out shortly before the team left for London yesterday. His attacking flair will be missed but Lydon's qualities could be equally valuable against Australia.

Although now regarded as a utility back at Wigan, Lydon's powerful long- range kicking is seen to best effect from full-back and a subtle change of emphasis can be expected in order to give him a chance to pin Australia back at Wembley.

His promotion means that Alan Tait, of Leeds, out of favour this summer, moves up from travelling reserve to become one of the four permitted substitutes.

Leeds must pay their neighbours Hunslet a minimum of pounds 30,000 and a maximum of pounds 70,000 for James Lowes, a transfer tribunal has ruled. Leeds's initial pounds 30,000 for the half-back they are transforming into a hooker will rise by steps of pounds 10,000 when he has played 10 and pounds 15,000 when he has completed 30 first-team games. It will cost them an extra pounds 15,000 if he plays for Great Britain.

The newly appointed chief executive of the rugby league, Maurice Lindsay, has predicted that three of the game's struggling outfits, Nottingham City, Chorley Borough and Blackpool Gladiators, will cease to exist as professional clubs. The demise of the three would be in line with a widely rumoured return to a two-division structure next season.

Lindsay also said that he was likely to propose a plan to restrict the amount of money that clubs can spend on players' wages 'within a year'.