Rugby League: Wigan plan to ground-share with football neighbours Athletic by year 2000

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The Independent Online
Wigan plan to be playing in the new ground they will share with their neighbours, Wigan Athletic, by the turn of Millennium. The club has confirmed that it will be moving in with the football team at the new 25,000- capacity stadium in the town in time for the start of the 2000 season.

Mike Nolan, the Wigan chairman, said yesterday that an alternative suggestion of playing on a different site in the town earmarked by the previous board, which was ousted last month, was "all smoke and mirrors".

The Robin Park plan was "the only viable one," he said, allowing Wigan to remain at their Central Park home for another two years before the bulldozers move in to build a supermarket.

On the playing front, Wigan are close to signing the Hunter Mariners' captain and hooker, Robbie McCormack. "He has agreed terms and it just a matter of completing the signing," Nolan said.

McCormack will join the London Broncos prop, Tony Mestrov, in a remodelled pack for next season, although Wigan have cooled on the deal to sign the New Zealand forward Mark Horo. Another New Zealander, the former All Black, John Timu, is considering rival offers from Wigan and London.

Meanwhile, the prop forward Lee Hansen, who Wigan signed from Widnes last season, is available if the right bid is forthcoming. It will not be decided which other players can go until their new coach, John Monie, runs a rule over the playing staff when he returns from Australia in December.

Wigan are not proposing to replace any of the four back-room staff made redundant last week.

Leeds, who are hoping to announce their new coach this week, have restructured the club by splitting rugby and non-rugby affairs into two sections.

Tommy Martyn, the man of the match in the first Test at Wembley, has agreed a new three-year deal with Challenge Cup holders St Helens.