Rugby League: Wigan absorb poor Orrell

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The Independent Online
WIGAN HAVE agreed a pounds 400,000 takeover of their debt-ridden rugby union neighbours, Orrell, and will use their ground for reserve team matches and as a training base. Orrell will remain autonomous and continue to play at Edge Hall Road, but the deal will rescue them from receivership.

"The lawyers on both sides still have some final details to thrash out, but it will go ahead," said the Orrell chairman, Ron Pimblett. "It's a fair package and one that was accepted by a large majority. Orrell will continue to be run as before but with no debts."

Wigan are to move into the new JJB Stadium to share with Wigan Athletic later this year. Edge Hall Road will take the pressure off the new ground by staging reserve fixtures and providing training facilities.

Brett Goldspink is the likely casualty of Wigan's signing of Halifax's Australian half-back, Gavin Clinch, which was being finalised last night. Wigan will have to apply for a new work permit for the player and will also have to shed a player from their overseas quota. Goldspink, only recruited from St Helens on a two-year contract this season and currently out of action following a knee operation, is the obvious candidate. If Chris Chester also joins Wigan, Halifax will have to find a new half-back pairing for tonight's game at home to Castleford.

In this evening's other match, Robbie Paul will be missing from Bradford's team at Leeds with a foot injury that will keep him out for an indeterminate period. The Leeds captain, Iestyn Harris, will start at scrum-half for the first time in his career in the absence of the injured Ryan Sheridan.

The London Broncos have denied any interest in recruiting John Monie, sacked by Wigan this week, as their new coach. The club dispensed with Dan Stains two weeks ago, but their chief executive, Tony Rea, who has taken on a coaching role alongside Les Kiss, said: "It hasn't crossed our minds. There has been enough change here."

St Helens are in no hurry to fill the gap in their overseas quota left by the departure of Phil Adamson, who has left for Australia after just three substitute appearances. Adamson is likely to join Manly, although Parramatta and one other club have also shown interest since Ellery Hanley made it clear that he was not in his plans.

"It says something that there is no shortage of interest in him," said Saints' football manager, Eric Hughes, who signed Adamson before Hanley's arrival.