Rugby League: Reilly rumour rolling: Australian team woo Lions coach - Flurry of late tries deny newly promoted Workington victory

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The Independent Online
THE new season opens this weekend with speculation mounting that Malcolm Reilly could be about to leave his jobs coaching Great Britain and Halifax to take charge of the Newcastle Knights in Australia.

Reilly, Great Britain coach since 1987 and at Halifax for the last two seasons, is said to have been offered the post.

'Malcolm has kept us closely informed on developments over the past week,' said Harry Gration, the rugby league's public affairs executive. 'We are assured no decision has been taken and Malcolm is still preparing Great Britain for the forthcoming Ashes series against Australia.'

Three of the game's higher profile players are left out of the action in the opening fixtures of the season tomorrow as their coaches show scant regard for reputations.

John Devereux and Andy Gregory are out of the Widnes and Salford line-ups, while Warrington's new signing, Francis Maloney, began his career with them in the A team last night.

The Widnes coach, Tony Myler, has omitted Devereux from the side to play Castleford, because the Wales and Great Britain winger has not trained enough during the summer.

Devereux has made no secret of his desire to join the exodus from Naughton Park - Warrington and Bradford have shown interest - and his absence will increase speculation that he is destined to leave.

Jason Green, signed from Rochdale this summer, takes Devereux's usual place on the right wing, and Lee Hansen and Andy Collier, recruited from Leigh, are also poised to make debuts in the pack, whilst Castleford will field a new scrum-half in Gareth Stephens.

There will be a Gregory on the Salford team-sheet at Wakefield, however, with the former Great Britain captain, Mike, making his first appearance for the club, along with another newcomer, Sam Panapa, from Wigan.