Rugby League: Warrington men walking tightrope

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The Independent Online
At the end of a week in which three of their team-mates have been sacked, other Warrington players will be playing for their future at the club tonight, writes Dave Hadfield.

Warrington, who showed three first-teamers the door after their defeat at Bradford last week, take on the London Broncos knowing another bad display could bring more drastic measures.

"They have had a good talking-to, in order to get them re-motivated," the chief executive, John Smith, said. "They know what they have to do."

Mark Hilton, their Great Britain Under-21 prop, is still ruled out with injury, but fellow prop Dallas Mead, signed from New Zealand this winter, makes his competitive debut, with Paul Hulme moving to hooker and 18-year- old Carl Roden making his first appearance at scrum-half.

The Test second-row Paul Sculthorpe, back after injury, has become the second player to win a place in the annual Coaches' Select XIII in the Rothmans Rugby League Yearbook after playing a whole season as an 18-year- old. Wigan's Andy Farrell was the first three years ago.

Sculthorpe's Warrington and Great Britain team-mate, Iestyn Harris, has had his 48-hour suspension extended while the club investigates claims that he played in a charity football match when he had withdrawn from the Bradford game through injury.

Ryan Sheridan is out of Leeds' game in Paris tonight with an ankle injury. Dean Lawford takes his place and Jamie Mathiou is named on the bench. Oldham will be without their centres, Vince Fawcett and Darren Abram, against the Bradford Bulls tonight.

The Featherstone hooker Neil Roebuck is out for the season after his fourth knee operation in seven months. Wigan's coach Eric Hughes fears Gary Connolly could also face a long lay-off if the knee injury that has kept him out since his return from Harlequins needs surgery.