Rugby League: Re-unification talks on the agenda

Click to follow
The Independent Online
THE GAME'S various governing bodies have moved a step closer to healing the damaging rifts that separate them.

Those often warring factions - The Rugby League, Super League, the Association of Premiership Clubs and the British Amateur Rugby League Association - all had their top brass at a meeting on Sunday that has agreed a framework for talks on re-unification. Conflict between the vested interests have been one of rugby league's handicaps over recent years and any move to bring the different bodies under one roof will be widely welcomed. The current situation is that the four bodies all have headquarters within a few miles of each other in West Yorkshire, with an inevitable confusion and duplication of functions.

On top of that, there have been those within each of the organisations who often appear to be pursuing divisive agendas. "All our progress is undermined in the eyes of our supporters and sponsors by the consequences of closures, mergers and the image of conflict," said the chairman of the RFL, Sir Rodney Walker. "This must be reversed."

Although the expression of willingness on all sides represents a step forward, the test of their good intentions will come when they discuss the details of a merger in the New Year.

Danny Moore has become the third Wigan player to join his former coach, John Monie, at the London Broncos. The former Manly and Australia centre spent the last two seasons at Wigan and said yesterday: "I enjoyed every minute and didn't really want to leave, but the Broncos were very keen."

Moore played for Wigan in their Challenge Cup final defeat and their Super League Grand Final victory in 1998, but now - along with Greg Florimo and Brett Goldspink, who have joined Halifax, and Gavin Clinch, who has gone to Huddersfield-Sheffield - he has been moved on to create space on the club's overseas quota.

The slot he leaves is likely to be filled by an Australasian front-row forward, with the New Zealanders Quentin Pongia and Brady Malam the most likely candidates. Wigan's move for the player regarded as Australia's most exciting teenager, Craig Wing, is likely to fail. Wing has been left without a club by the expulsion of South Sydney, but he is thought to want to stay in Australia.

The Bradford Bulls have extended the contracts of Paul Deacon and Jamie Peacock, two of their most promising young players, to the end of the 2002 season.

London are to play one of their two "home" games against Warrington on 3 June at Leicester Tigers' ground at Welford Road - a repeat of last year's successful experiment when they attracted better than their average crowd for a match against Bradford at the same venue.