Rugby League: Makin props up Salford

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The Independent Online
SALFORD, COMING to the end of a disappointing 1998, have stepped up their team strengthening for next season by signing the Widnes prop Craig Makin.

The Reds have already lost Nathan McAvoy to Bradford, will see Scott Martin go in the same direction at the end of the season and have several more players, including the former Great Britain prop Andy Platt, coming to the end of contracts.

The signing of one of the best forwards outside Super League on a three- year contract under the Bosman ruling is therefore a welcome boost for Andy Gregory, who also has Garen Casey, the brains behind Wakefield Trinity's First Division Grand Final side, lined up to come to The Willows.

"Craig is an excellent front-rower, with size and pace. I'm sure he will be able to adapt to Super League," Gregory said. Makin, aged 25, turned down approaches from Hull, Warrington and London to join Salford.

Meanwhile, Widnes plan to follow their First Division rivals Leigh by naming their new coach this week. The club, which sacked Graeme West last month, is interviewing candidates including their current caretaker, Colin Whitfield, and the St Helens assistant coach, Mike Gregory, tomorrow.

Leigh, one of only two sides in the division to finish below Widnes this season, have confirmed the Australian Ian Millward as their new coach. The Illawarra lower grades coach is the son of that club's chief executive, Bob Millward, who is also to come to Britain to help set up links between them and Leigh.

The London Broncos, accused of keeping their supporters in the dark when complaints from residents meant they had to operate their floodlights at half power in the game against Bradford, have assured them that it will all be sweetness and light when they meet St Helens in an equally crucial match this Friday.

The Broncos have permission to switch to full beam this week and can also see some light at the end of the tunnel as they bid for a place in the play-offs with the news that Mark Carroll could be fit after a groin injury.

Warrington's captain, Danny Farrar, will not play again this season after injuring his ankle in the defeat at Bradford.