Rugby League: Monie rejects Auckland offer

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JOHN MONIE, the Wigan coach, has turned down the chance to coach Auckland when they enter Australia's Winfield Cup competition in 1995.

Monie was Auckland's first choice, but he has turned down the offer and intends to return to his native Australia at the end of this season to look for a coaching position in Sydney for 1994.

'I was interested in the challenge in Auckland and I think they will do very well,' he said. 'But it's four years since I lived in Australia and it's time to go back.'

His withdrawal leaves Salford's former Kiwi international, Kevin Tamati, as the leading British-based candidate for one of the game's most intriguing jobs, but Auckland may look instead to an Australian with a track record in the Winfield Cup.

Monie's new Australian recruit, Andrew Farrar, goes straight into the Wigan side as centre partner to Dean Bell for Sunday's match against Wakefield. Joe Lydon moves to the wing and Ian Lucas is named as forward substitute despite irritating Monie by complaining publicly this week about his apparent status as the club's third-choice prop.

Bradford Northern's New Zealand international, David Watson, has been told that he is too late to appeal against his three-month suspension for testing positive for cannabis when with Halifax last season. Watson appealed to the game's board of directors, but was told that the 14-day time limit had expired. He will not be able to play for his new club until November.

Whitehaven and Hunslet have pleaded guilty to brawling in their opening Third Division game of the season. Both clubs have been fined pounds 500, half of it suspended, and one Whitehaven player, Kevin Sanders, will appear before the disciplinary committee next week over his part in the brawl.

The Warrington prop, Neil Harmon, yesterday escaped suspension after being sent off for a high tackle at Oldham last Sunday. A disciplinary hearing ruled that the sending-off was sufficient and Harmon can play in tonight's match at Hull.