RUGBY LEAGUE: Sheffield break up Wembley squad

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The Independent Online
SHEFFIELD EAGLES are releasing two more members of the squad that brought them their finest hour when they won the Challenge Cup last May. Their former Halifax and Keighley loose forward, Martin Wood, and their utility back, Lynton Stott, were both among the substitutes at Wembley that day, although Stott did not get on to the field for the defeat of Wigan.

Now both are being allowed to leave as the Eagles try to trim costs by bringing their first-team squad down to 22 players.

"We had to take this decision reluctantly because of salary cap pressures on the club," the Sheffield coach, John Kear, said. "Lynton and Martin have both given great service and loyalty to the club and we hope they get a contract quickly."

Stott has already been playing rugby union on a short-term contract with Leeds Tykes, while Wood's craft and experience should make him an attractive proposition elsewhere.

Their departure will continue the break-up of the Wembley squad. Sheffield have already transfer-listed their captain, the Great Britain prop, Paul Broadbent, after refusing his request for an improved deal, while their cup final second-rower, Paul Carr, has retired and returned to Australia.

Featherstone Rovers, narrowly beaten to the First Division title last season, are changing their image and the name of their ground, but not the name of the club itself.

Post Office Road, their home since 1921, is to be known in future as Lionheart Stadium, following the decision of Lionheart, an arm of RJB Mining, to extend their sponsorship to the end of 2003.

Featherstone will also replace the town crest on their shirt with a representation of a rover - or sea-robber - but denied that they are going to become Featherstone Pirates.

"We are updating our image for merchandising, but not changing our name," said a club spokesman. "We looked in the Oxford English Dictionary and that's what a rover is."

Phil Clarke, sacked as chief executive by Wigan last week, has been approached on behalf of Sale about a similar vacancy at the rugby union club.