Rugby League: Pair released as Sheffield try to rebuild

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SHEFFIELD EAGLES are getting rid of two of their first team players on free transfers with a warning that there could be more to follow.

The club, 11th in the JJB Super League with only eight wins all season, have made the forwards Michael Jackson and Paul Anderson available.

"They are still under contract, but they can leave on free transfers if any club is interested," said the Sheffield chief executive, Ralph Rimmer. "These may well be just the first casualties of sweeping changes being planned."

Jackson, the former Wakefield, Halifax and Great Britain second row, has been hampered by injury during his time at the Don Valley, while Anderson, an Academy international, arrived from St Helens this year but has spent part of the season on loan to Leigh.

The Eagles have hinted at a major clear out after their disappointing season, with only the youngsters Dale Cardoza and Chris Thorman guaranteed new contracts.

The first signs of a possible exodus come amid speculation about where the club will play next season. They have been linked with a move to Chesterfield and are delaying launching new season tickets until they know their destination.

Craig Makin, the Salford prop, has escaped suspension after being sent off for a careless high tackle against St Helens on Sunday and will be available for his club's game at Wakefield this weekend.

Leeds are closing in on the Melbourne centre, Paul Bell, as a replacement for Brad Godden when he returns to Australia at the end of this season. The club has also been linked with the Australians Jamie Ainscough and Billy Moore.

Huddersfield are to give a debut to Troy Slattery, the South Sydney forward, against Halifax on Sunday and are also negotiating to take Bramley's full- back, Mark Sibson, on loan for the rest of the season.

The Rugby League has agreed to finance an administrator to take charge of the burgeoning Rugby League Conference, the competition based outside the game's heartlands which already has 20 applications, ranging from Portsmouth to the North-east, for membership next season.

Derrick Schofield, the former Rochdale Hornets, Halifax and Great Britain forward who played against New Zealand in 1955, has died aged 71.

Schofield played for Halifax against Warrington in the 1954 Wembley Cup Final and in the replay at Bradford, which attracted a world record crowd of 102,569.

He also had a stint as coach at Rochdale.