Weak Wigan send for `Doc'

Rugby League
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The Independent Online
David "Doc" Murray has flown in from Auckland to provide an immediate cure for Wigan's relatively threadbare squad in the Boxing Day match against St Helens.

The 24-year-old Murray will go straight into his new side at full-back for the fixture. "We still have a very small squad by our standards and the arrival of a player of Doc's ability can only increase the competition for places," said the Wigan coach, Graeme West.

Murray - the medical qualification is merely the lingering symptom of a childhood nickname - impressed in two matches against the Great Britain tourists this autumn. "Salford had already made me an offer but when Wigan came in I had no hesitation," he said.

He will play on Boxing Day against a former team-mate at the Auckland Warriors, St Helens' new prop Julian O'Neill. Wigan's two other recent signings, the forwards Stephen Holgate and Ian Sherratt, will also make their debuts in the same match. The influx of new blood is particularly well timed because Wigan are far from certain to be able to call upon their players on loan to rugby union clubs - Gary Connolly, Jason Robinson, Henry Paul and Va'aiga Tuigamala. The club's football manager, Joe Lydon, said that discussions about the availability of those players would carry on into next week.

Oldham have signed the winger-cum-centre Vince Fawcett, who played last season for the Australian club Parramatta. Fawcett, previously with Leeds and Workington Town, will also make his first appearance for his new club over the holiday season.

Scott Naylor, Salford's new international, and second-row forward Craig Randall have handed the Super League newcomers a double boost by signing new, two-year contracts.

Leeds Rhinos have signed their second player from North Queensland Cowboys in 23-year-old utility back Damian Gibson, a former Australian schoolboy international. He joins his fellow countryman Jamie Mathiou at Headingley.

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