Rugby League: Oldham's startling signing

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The Independent Online
OLDHAM have completed a startling coup by signing the current Australian Test forward, Bob Lindner, on a two-year contract. They hope that the 31-year- old back-row man will be here for the start of the season. Even if his present club, Illawarra, reach the Australian Grand Final, he will only miss a handful of matches before joining Oldham on a full-time basis.

'We need to strengthen our side,' the Oldham chairman, Jim Quinn, said. 'If we can bring in a player of this calibre at the right price, we believe it will be self-financing through the turnstiles. It should encourage our spectators to see that, even without the resources some other clubs have, we can still pull off a deal like this.'

Wigan are not offering their long-serving full-back, Steve Hampson, a new contract and have put him on the transfer list at pounds 15,000. The decision to let Hampson go after nine years shows faith in the young reserve, Paul Atcheson. It could point to a move to full-back for Frano Botica, who has signed a new two-year contract. Botica played most of last season in his old rugby union position of stand- off, but Wigan have a pounds 150,000 offer on the table for Wakefield's Nigel Wright, the best young British prospect in that role.