Rugby League: Sheffield swoop for Lawless

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The Independent Online
Sheffield Eagles have signed Halifax's former Great Britain Academy international hooker, Johnny Lawless.

The 20-year-old Lawless asked for a transfer after being unable to hold on to a regular first-team place at Thrum Hall following the signing of Paul Rowley from Leigh last season. He was rated at pounds 25,000 and the fee is likely to be settled between the clubs later this week.

"We rate Johnny as one of the top young players in the game." Gary Hetherington, the Sheffield Eagles manager, said when the deal had been concluded.

Lawless has been signed to fill the vacancy which is about to be created by the departure of the Great Britain hooker, Lee Jackson, to the Australian Rugby League next season.

Halifax were also in the transfer market as vendors yesterday, signing the London Broncos winger Abi Ekoku, brother of the Wimbledon footballer Efan, for an undisclosed four-figure sum.

The 28-year-old former Commonwealth Games discus thrower, who played 11 games and scored seven tries for the Broncos last season, has gone to Thrum Hall on a two-year contract.

Ekoku has played for the Broncos since turning professional from St Mary's amateur club in July 1993.