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Tuesday, 21 October 2014

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Ex-GB star Ade Gardner in for Whitehaven

Former Great Britain and England flyer Ade Gardner is set to feature for Whitehaven at Keighley Cougars on Sunday.

Ade Gardner  photo
Ade Gardner

The Cumbrian winger and St Helens team-mate Anthony Walker, a 21-year-old prop, have joined Haven on dual registration from partner St Helens.

Gardner, from Barrow, is likely to step in for Craig Calvert, who is unavailable, while skipper Lee Doran, who picked up a knock against York last week, is also set to miss out.

Saints signed a partnership agreement with Haven in pre-season, under which first-team players not needed by the Super League club for a forthcoming match would be available to the Cumbrians.

But coach Dave Woods’ decision to keep faith with his own players for their opener paid off with a 32-22 win against York.

Cumbrian Gardner has scored 168 tries for Saints in 276 appearances and was the club’s top try-scorer over three consecutive seasons from 2006.

The Barrow-born flyer was handed squad No 2 for the new campaign, and at 29, should still have plenty to offer.

Meanwhile, new recruit Rodney Pora is expected to join his Haven team-mates later this month after he was named in the Papua New Guinea side to face top Aussie outfit South Sydney tomorrow.

The prop will start the clash at Redfern Oval, when he will line up against some of Souths’ top talent, as PNG launch their countdown to the World Cup in the autumn.

“We still plan to bring him here, and he is desperate to come,” said Haven chief executive Barry Richardson. “But it was also important we signed Seb Martins, so when Rodney arrives we will have two really big new forwards in the squad.”

Souths have named a squad of 18 for their opening pre-season clash, in which Pora will face Yorkshireman George Burgess in the front-row.

PNG coach Adrian Lam, the ex-Wigan half-back, expects NRL scouts to flock to Redfern for the match.

“From what I’ve heard there will be about six clubs with recruitment officers here,” Lam said. “I don’t know why clubs haven't concentrated on Papua New Guinea more.

“They’ve become very familiar with the Pacific islands, but no-one from PNG really gets picked-up unless they come to school in Australia first.”

The Kumuls will be skippered by loose-forward Glen Nami, who reportedly signed for Haven 12 months ago, only then to fail to contact the club.

Haven’s PNG centre Jessie Joe Parker is an international regular though is not involved for his country this weekend.

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