Wigan raise Rowley bid

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The Independent Online
Rugby League

Wigan have stepped up their bid for the Halifax hooker, Paul Rowley, by tabling an improved offer of cash plus a player in part-exchange. Wigan, already beaten three times in their worst start to a season for over a decade, see the signing of Rowley as the next stage in their rebuilding. With the 22-year-old player, who started his career at Leigh, coming out of contract at the end of this season, Halifax may be willing to cash in their major asset.

Warrington are also interested in Rowley, but Wigan, where his father, Alan, is commercial manager, remain favourites to secure his services, possibly in time for him to make his debut against Oldham on Sunday. The club's directors were discussing their campaign to recruit him last night.

Wigan's most recent incoming transfer deal, for the Widnes prop, Lee Hansen, has been complicated by the decision of their young forward, Matt Knowles, to join Swinton. Knowles had been earmarked, along with the reserve half-back, Shaun Long, to join Widnes as part of the Hansen deal, but he has opted instead to join the First Division's bottom club. Wigan will now have to pay an extra cash adjustment in order to complete the deal.

Castleford, who were expected to announce the name of their new coach yesterday, have delayed their appointment of a successor to John Joyner, who quit last week.