RUGBY LEAGUE: Pratt talks ruffle Rovers

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FEATHERSTONE ARE insisting that Leeds pay pounds 250,000 - a record fee for a teenager - if they want to have Karl Pratt in their squad next season. The First Division club are furious that the Super League Grand Finalists appear to have agreed terms with the talented utility back without fixing a transfer fee.

"If they think they can trample all over Featherstone Rovers and get our good young players for nothing, they have another thought coming," Terry Mullaney, the club's secretary, said. "He will cost them pounds 250,000 - not a penny less."

Leeds have already said that they have no intention of paying a big fee for Pratt, while Wigan have registered an interest in both him and his team-mate, the prop Stuart Dickens. "At least Wigan have gone about it in the right way, but we strongly object to Leeds talking terms with Karl before they have agreed a transfer," Mullaney added.

Pratt, released by Leeds as a schoolboy, was their guest at their match against St Helens on Sunday.

Leeds and Wigan will be competing for something other than Pratt's signature when they meet in the Grand Final at Old Trafford on Saturday. The winning players will receive commemorative gold rings, following the practice in American football's Super Bowl and the Australian Grand Final rather than the traditional medals, it was announced yesterday.

Terry O'Connor, who will start the match in Wigan's front row, is set to join Halifax for next season.

John Kear, the Sheffield Eagles coach, is in line to be added to Great Britain's coaching team. Kear resigned as coach of France this week and has been part of the Great Britain set-up in the past under Malcolm Reilly and Phil Larder.

Andy Goodway lost his main back-up when Shaun McRae resigned to focus on his new role at Gateshead and Kear's experience could be invaluable during an intensive build-up to the three Tests against New Zealand this autumn.

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