Rugby League: Warrington lure Hunte from Hull

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The Independent Online
ALAN HUNTE has set himself the target of reclaiming his Great Britain place after becoming Warrington's key signing for the coming Super League season.

Hunte, released by Hull with 12 months of his contract still to run, has joined Warrington on a three-year deal, despite looking likely to switch to rugby union at one stage.

The Wolves' coach, Darryl Van de Velde, pounced when the proposed deal, part-financed by the Rugby Football Union, collapsed and acclaimed Hunte as "a great signing for the club" yesterday.

"Everyone knows that the rugby union thing was going on. It seemed quite interesting so I stayed with it to see what the outcome would be, but Darryl impressed me with what he had to say," Hunte said. "All the ingredients at Warrington are right for success and I was pleased to put pen to paper."

Hunte had an unsettled 1998 season after moving from St Helens to Hull, missing out on selection for the series against New Zealand after previously winning 15 caps for his country.

"It was disappointing to lose my Great Britain spot last season, but there was no argument about the fact that Andy Goodway was picking form players and it wasn't the best season I've had," said the 22-year-old. "I don't doubt I can get my place back, but it's not all down to me. You've got to be playing for a successful club."

With Hunte on board, that is what Van de Velde, who first tried to sign him as an 18-year-old when he was coach at Castleford, believes Warrington can be.

"We were looking for a strike player and that's what we needed if we are really to challenge for honours. We have the players now to give us a good range of attacking options," he said.

"It also shows that there is some financial stability back at the club. We were treading water last year, but this is a big statement of confidence in the future."

Hunte will make his Warrington debut in the friendly against St Helens, the club he joined instead of signing for Van de Velde at Castleford, on 29 January.

Meanwhile, Warrington have told Castleford that they must pay pounds 25,000 if they want to sign the 18-year-old Scottish international half-back, John Duffy. Warrington want Duffy to stay but fear he is intent on leaving.

Bramley's new coach, Mike Ford, has signed the hooker, Richard Russell, who has been released by Castleford, where they played beside each other.

Last season's Second Division champions, the Lancashire Lynx, are leaving Preston North End's Deepdale to move back to their old home at Victory Park in Chorley for the 1999 season.