Rugby league: Skerrett stays at Halifax

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The Independent Online
ONE of Britain's most experienced prop forwards, Kelvin Skerrett, has signed a new contract that will keep him at Halifax for the coming Super League season.

The former Bradford, Wigan and Great Britain forward joined Halifax last year, but made only seven appearances because of a broken arm.

Skerrett will become the lowest-numbered prop in the competition, switching to wearing the squad number of four, because he associates last season's No 20 shirt with bad luck with injuries.

Bradford are set to use the versatile Nathan Graham at hooker in the opening match of their defence of the Super League title at Huddersfield tonight.

Graham, who has also played full-back, wing and stand-off for Bulls, stands in for James Lowes, who will miss the opening weeks of the season through injury.

The Leeds prop, Barrie McDermott, will also miss the start of the season. McDermott failed last night in an appeal against a five-match ban for a dangerous tackle and fighting.

Neil Tunnicliffe has been confirmed in his role as chief executive of the Rugby League. The 33-year-old Doctor of Philosophy from Oxford University had been filling the role on a trial basis since Maurice Lindsay was forced out in January.

"I'm delighted to have the opportunity to continue the work I have been doing over the last three months and that the policies I've set in train have been to the satisfaction of the game," he said.

Tunnicliffe denied that one of his pet projects, the imposition of a salary cap on clubs, had been diluted by dispensations granted to some by the Rugby League Council this week.

Under the changes, the London Broncos and four other clubs have had withheld money returned and a ban on new signings lifted.

"It was what the whole game wanted, but clubs still have to get below 50 per cent," he said.