Rugby League: Van de Velde joins Warrington as Harris departs

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The Independent Online
Darryl Van de Velde was yesterday appointed as the new coach of Warrington as they sold Iestyn Harris to Leeds while John Joyner departed from Van de Velde's previous club, Castleford.

This dizzying sequence of events unfolded within a few hours yesterday. Warrington got in first with the announcement that Van de Velde, in charge at Castleford for five years before becoming chief executive of the South Queensland Crushers and later coach at Huddersfield, has replaced his fellow-Australian, John Dorahy, who resigned last week.

"They have got some talent here," Van de Velde said. "Although I will need to bring in a couple of new players, I've told the existing players that I've got an open mind and that they are all in my plans if they show me they have something to offer."

Van de Velde starts his new job with around pounds 300,000 in the coffers following the sale of Harris to Leeds. The Leeds Academy player, Danny Sculthorpe, younger brother of Warrington's Paul, also goes to Wilderspool as part of the transaction.

"It is Leeds' biggest signing for 45 years," said chief executive Gary Hetherington of the club's record deal. Harris, on the transfer list at a world record pounds 1.35m since last July, said that he was relieved not to have become the game's first pounds 1m player, although his move is the second- biggest - after the pounds 440,000 paid by Wigan to Widnes for Martin Offiah - in pure cash terms.

Dean Bell has put him straight into the squad for tonight's home game against Wigan, although he has not yet decided in which position he will play him.

Joyner's departure from Castleford, after four Super League defeats and a Challenge Cup exit at the hands of Salford, ends a 25-year association with his home-town club as player and coach and is further proof that there is little room for sentiment in the modern game.

As a parting by mutual agreement was announced, the club's chairman, Philip Hindle, said: "John has been a magnificent servant at the club for a very long time. He has put in a great deal of hard work over the close season, but the results have been disappointing. We wish him all the best for the future."

Castleford will advertise for a successor, but such is the nature of the coaching merry-go-round that Steve Simms, who left Halifax last month, could be a contender, as would the Castle- ford-born Andy Goodway, should he carry out his threat to resign at Oldham. The former assistant coach Mick Morgan has taken over as caretaker.

The Bradford prop Brian McDermott has been suspended for four matches for striking three opponents towards the end of his side's Silk Cut Challenge Cup victory over Leeds last Saturday. The suspension will leave McDermott free to play for the Bulls at Wembley on 3 May.

His Leeds namesake, Barrie, was suspended for three matches for a high tackle in the same match, detected on video. He will appeal against the ban this morning. Another Leeds forward, Terry Newton, escaped suspension despite being found guilty of using his knees in the tackle.