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Sunday, 23 November 2014

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Ex-GB star Ade Gardner has point to prove at Whitehaven

Ex-Great Britain winger Ade Gardner will have a huge incentive to pull out all the stops on his Whitehaven debut at Keighley tomorrow (3pm), revealed Recre boss Dave Woods.

Ade Gardner  photo
Ade Gardner

The St Helens star has set his sights on regaining his place in Super League and is set to feature on dual registration in place of Craig Calvert, who is unavailable.

“With Calvert missing we didn’t have another out-and-out winger,” said coach Dave Woods. “An international winger was offered to us who wants to play and that will be good for us. I know he is coming here to get back in the Saints team, and that is what this partnership is about – doing the right thing for each other.”

Gardner, 29, will be joined in the Haven squad by top prospect Anthony Walker, 21, who is poised for a Super League call-up by Saints boss Nathan Brown, and is in for injured skipper Lee Doran.

“I had a good chat with Browny who said he will definitely play Super League, it is just a matter of when,” added Woods, who is aware of the potential perils of dual registration, and the frustration of some fans who would prefer Haven to focus on giving their own players a first-team break.

He revealed he could have taken five Saints players tomorrow, including one leading name, but preferred to keep faith with his own squad. The coach also has one eye on Haven’s televised tie against Leigh at the Recre on Thursday.

“We have a couple of players not able to play two games in five days, so we were looking to bring in fresh bodies for Sunday and rest some for Thursday,” Woods added. “We are still giving our blokes an opportunity, but at certain times we can’t look a gift horse in the mouth. We have to put out the best team we think could win any game. If that means one of our players misses out, we have to look at it.

“Dual registration could be a dangerous system and you have to get the balance right and deal with players in the right way. If not, you could lose your own players who could say, ‘why bother?’.”

With most Championship rivals now linking with Super League clubs, he is also mindful of maintaining good relations with St Helens.

“It’s a partnership, and if we turn around every week and say we don’t want players, at the end of the season Saints could say it hasn’t worked and go and have a partnership with Leigh instead,” he said.

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