Rugby League: Sixth new signing joins Halifax

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FOR HALIFAX, hitting one out of two Wigan targets is not bad. One of the Super League's busiest clubs during the close season had their sights on Darryl Cardiss and Terry O'Connor from last season's Champions.

Yesterday, they completed the signing of Cardiss, 20, who can play almost anywhere in the backs. The former Great Britain Academy international has played full-back, wing and half-back for Wigan, without commanding a permanent first team place. He becomes the sixth winter signing for a club which refuses to rest on the laurels of last season's top three finish.

But Halifax' hopes of adding O'Connor to their pack have been laid to rest by the Great Britain prop agreeing a contract extension at Central Park. O'Connor still has two years to run on his current contract, but was regarded as available for a move for most of last season.

His late surge of form won him back his place at both club and Test level. The extra year added to his current deal will keep him there until he is 29 and will intensify the competition for front-row places next season, when Brett Goldspink from St Helens will expand an already healthy range of options.

Wigan's coach, John Monie, is in Australia considering how best to fill their one vacant overseas spot, with Melbourne's Brett Kimmorley one name mentioned in dispatches.

The former Great Britain hooker, Lee Jackson, has won the first round of his contest with Terry Newton for that role at Leeds. Newton finished the Test series against New Zealand as his country's hooker, but the Leeds coach, Graham Murray, has signalled his intentions for 1999 by awarding the squad number 9 to Jackson, who has returned to Britain after a stint with Newcastle Knights in Australia.

Newton is inevitably concerned about his future and has been linked with a possible move to Wigan, his home-town club. Murray has reassured him that he still plays an important part in his plans, although that could be as a utility forward and tactical substitute. The first test of whether the two players can be kept happy will be the Boxing Day friendly against Halifax, who may include Cardiss among their new recruits for the match at Headingley.