Sporting Digest: Rugby League

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Australia's National Rugby League competition will shrink from 20 teams in 1998 to at most 18 in 1999 with yesterday's announcement of the demise of the Adelaide Rams. The Gold Coast Chargers were also tipped to close, which would leave 17 teams next year following the merger of St George-Illawarra.

Gateshead have signed the Irish international winger, Brian Carney, despite rival bids from established clubs.