Rugby League: Wigan keeping Platt

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The Independent Online
THE threat of Britain's leading front-rower being lost to club and country has been averted by Andy Platt signing a new two-year contract with Wigan.

Platt has been in dispute with the club since returning from Great Britain's tour to Australasia, but the Wigan chairman, Jack Robinson, said yesterday: 'We are delighted that we have now come to an agreement.

'We never wanted to lose Andy; it was purely a matter of trying to keep costs down.'

The deal was clinched after a local firm came up with the offer of a sponsored car for two years. Wigan have lost a number of the cars they have become accustomed to handing out to players as the recession in the North-west continues to bite.

The new contract removes the fear that Platt, rated the best prop in the world after his performances on tour, could emigrate to Australia to play for Parramatta.

The other potential problem for the Great Britain coach, Malcolm Reilly, was that he could not include Platt in the squad to prepare for the World Cup final in October while he remained in dispute with his club.

The Wigan board will tonight discuss the circumstances under which Martin Offiah and Kelvin Skerrett left the field at the end of the Charity Shield defeat by St Helens at Gateshead on Sunday without collecting their medals.

'We are very conscious of the image of the game and they will be asked to explain themselves,' Robinson said. He added that Skerrett had been ill enough to need immediate medical help after the game, in which he played despite a viral infection.

Bradford Northern have joined Hull in chasing Featherstone's unsettled scrum-half, Deryck Fox. Bradford had an offer for the 28- year-old Great Britain tourist discussed by the Featherstone board last night.

Hull are trying to find a sponsor to finance a bid for Fox, but Bradford could have the inside running.

'I think the travelling to Hull could get me down,' Fox said. His namesake, Peter Fox, is coach at Bradford and the player would like to come under his tutelage again.

Leeds and Salford are setting up a deal which will send Phil Ford and a cash adjustment to the Willows in exchange for Mick Worrall. Leigh have switched their attention from the Balmain threequarter, Tim Brasher, to his team-mate, John Elias.

Leeds, who had hoped to sign the Australian forward, Mark Geyer, on a short-term contract, have been forced to look elsewhere. Geyer injured a knee in a car crash in Sydney over the weekend and faces surgery later this week.