Sporting Digest: Rugby League

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The Independent Online
Widnes Vikings are giving a month's trial to John Fieldhouse, the former Great Britain forward, who last played for the club 12 years ago, after their failure to sign St Helens prop Andy Leathem on loan.

Martin Pearson, the Halifax Blue Sox goal-kicking stand-off, will miss a fortnight of the season with an ankle injury sustained during Friday's defeat at Leeds. However, he has done some light training and the injury is not as bad as initially feared.

Super League crowds are set to increase for the third successive year. Attendances at the half-way stage of this season's campaign are averaging 7,427, compared to last year's mark of 6,939 and 6,571 in the inaugural summer season of 1996. Reigning champions Bradford Bulls again lead the way with an average crowd of 15,115 while joint leaders Leeds and Wigan also report five-figure averages. Leeds have gained most support over the last two seasons, having increased their average from 8,581 in 1996 to 12,773.

AVERAGE SUPER LEAGUE ATTENDANCES AT THE HALF-WAY STAGE: Bradford 15,115 (15,163); Leeds 12,773 (11,005); Wigan 10,364 (8,865); St Helens 8,464 (8,823); Hull 7,035 (6,268 in First Division); Castleford 6,702 (5,003); Huddersfield 5,663 (3,723 in First Division); Halifax 5,748 (5,407); Sheffield 4,941 (3,946); Warrington 5,309 (5,404); Salford 5,162 (5,206); London 2,480 (5,125). (Last year's figures in brackets).

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