Rugby League: Offiah back to Bedford

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The Independent Online
Martin Offiah is leaving London Broncos and returning to Bedford rugby union club after the Super League side accepted his contract with them had expired. The Broncos had hoped to keep the Great Britain winger, but yesterday they were forced to admit defeat.

The Broncos' commercial manager, Nigel Waters, said: "Following reports in the press and television, talks had been convened between London Broncos and Martin Offiah's agent Alan McComb.

"Mr McComb had indicated that Martin had completed his playing contract with the Broncos for this season. Despite these talks between the two parties, it is apparent that this is the case and Martin will be returning to Bedford rugby union club."

However McComb claimed that a new offer to continue playing for London Broncos this season had been snatched away from the Great Britain winger.

"A request was made to me this morning by London chief executive Tony Rea for Martin to continue to participate in some forthcoming matches without guaranteed match payments but only for win bonuses,'' McComb said.

"Martin was on the London training ground at the time with his colleagues when Broncos chose to send out a Press statement suggesting the contract was over and he would be returning immediately to Bedford. Martin would have liked to have been given the opportunity to consider that offer."

Castleford threequarter Jason Critchley has been given a one-match ban by the Australian Super League authorities. The England winger was found guilty of a careless tackle in his side's defeat by Perth Reds in Western Australia on Sunday.

Meanwhile, the Canterbury pair, Glen Hughes and Steve Reardon, will appear before the Rugby Football League disciplinary committee in Leeds today after being sent off in Tuesday night's 31-24 defeat at Wigan.

Brisbane forward Brad Thorn, sent off for a high tackle on London centre Tony Martin on Sunday night, will have his case heard tomorrow.

Australasian Super League chiefs have given a vote of confidence to referee Bill Harrigan for his performance in Monday's Penrith-Bradford World Club Championship match. Bradford criticised the 15-4 penalty count against them and the fact that two of their players, James Lowes and Matt Calland, were sent to the sin-bin at a vital stage.

While the pair were off the field, the Panthers scored two disputed tries to put the game out of Bradford's reach and eventually won 54-14.