RUGBY LEAGUE Schofield snub explained

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The former Great Britain captain, Garry Schofield, has, in effect, been told "tough luck" after missing out on the Super League "loyalty" contract pay-out.

Schofield has complained bitterly about being left out of the windfall, which has seen players of far less distinction receive handsome payments in return for rejecting approaches from the Australian Rugby League.

The Rugby League hit back yesterday by explaining that Schofield had not been offered a Super League pay-out because he had not been approached by the ARL.

"Had Garry Schofield's club, Leeds, advised us that they were in danger of losing him to an Australian offer we are sure that News Limited [the Rupert Murdoch company behind the Super League] would have examined the issue," the League's media manager, Paul Harrison, said. "His name was not mentioned by the Leeds club and, as such, neither News Limited nor the Rugby League has anything to answer for."

Schofield, who has said he would support strike action by those left out of the deal, is also at odds with the Rugby League Professional Players' Association over his offer to co-ordinate a campaign by leading players. RLPPA executive member Daryl Powell said: "This is a time when players should stick together."

The other notable case of publicly expressed disgust over the absence of a loyalty bonus on his doormat, Shaun Edwards, is still in negotiation with Wigan over his contract, which expires this summer.

Two other Wigan players have signed until the end of the second Super League season, however. Kelvin Skerrett and Barrie-Jon Mather, who is likely to replace Va'aiga Tuigamala in the Premiership first-round tie against Sheffield on Sunday, will stay with the club until 1997.

Widnes have been told that the League is powerless to change the latest draft of the Super League in order to include them. The club is still considering its next move, whilst Featherstone are insisting that they should be the first reserves for the competition.

Peter Sterling, the former Test scrum-half who is now Australia's leading television summariser, is being linked with a move to England as coach of a Super League club.

Sterling's old club, Parramatta, have signed the Workington back, Vince Fawcett, on a short-term contract. With Parramatta no longer encumbered by an overseas quota, he could be followed by David Mycoe of Sheffield Eagles, Featherstone's Great Britain prop, Steve Molloy, and London's South African winger, Mark Johnson, all of whom are in negotiation for summer stints with the club.