Rugby League: Ruling leaves Saints with gap at centre

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The Independent Online
St Helens will step up their search for a new centre following the news that Jamie Olejnik will not be able to join them this season. The Australian, seen as a replacement for Alan Hunte, who has been sold to Hull, has failed to get a work permit.

The ruling by the Department of Employment and Education will also affect Salford, who are hoping to have Phil Bergman in their squad, and the London Broncos, who had recruited Deon Bird. All three played for Paris last season and irregularities at that club, with whom overseas players travelled between Britain and France on tourist visas, have led to the DoEE move. The former Paris captain, David O'Donnell, who is due to join Dewsbury, has an English grandmother and should not be affected.

London are lining up the former St George and Perth Reds half-back Damien Chapman to fill a gap in their squad left by the departure of Shaun Edwards and Josh White. They will be without their new signing, the former All Black, John Timu, in their friendly at Sheffield tonight. Sheffield are closely watching the situation of the Great Britain prop, Steve Molloy, who is threatening to take Featherstone to court in a challenge to the transfer system.

Wigan's legal advice in Australia is that Wendell Sailor would win a court case challenging Brisbane's option on his services for next season, which would open the way for him to join them in 1999.

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