Rugby League: Salford go straight back into action

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The Independent Online
Salford have the unenviable task of being the first English club to fly home from their tribulations in Australia to be thrown straight back into domestic action.

Not back in Britain until Wednesday, Salford have to play Warrington tonight, not to mention flying out again to play Paris next week.

"They are professional players and they have to get on with it, however the fixtures fall," their coach, Andy Gregory, said. "You won't hear any excuses from me."

Salford have Andy Burgess at loose forward for the injured David Hulme, while Lokeni Savelio is preferred to Paul Forber in the second row.

Wigan are planning to give the Academy international hooker, Ian Talbot, his Super League debut against Sheffield on Sunday, with Martin Hall out for a month with a broken arm.

The club has deferred the question of what to do about Neil Cowie, sent home from Australia for missing a training session, until a full board meeting can be convened next week. The chairman, Jack Robinson, has denied that there were any other major disciplinary lapses on Wigan's flight home.

"There were a couple of players who went towards the edge, but they were reeled back in," he said.

The London Broncos have introduced two more of their developing British players into their squad to face Castleford this weekend. Giles Thomas, a half-back from Worcester, and Ian Higgins, a centre from Scotland via Cambridge University, have both been named on the bench for Sunday's match.

A League tribunal will today hear arguments from Oldham and David Bradbury, who has been in dispute with them virtually all season, over whether the Great Britain tourist should be given free agent status.

Super League in Australia has a new chief executive, but the plot continues to thicken over the future of the same position in Britain.

Colin Sanders has been brought in from outside the game to smooth the path to reunification with the Australian Rugby League. However, an announcement that was expected this week to confirm that Mauricethad Lindsay was to leave the Rugby League to become chairman of the Tote has been put off until next month, with Lindsay no longer being regarded as the clear favourite.

Lindsay said: "I am aware of the speculation in the media connecting me with the chairmanship of the Tote, but I have never commented on the issue."