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Gilmour experience key to appointment

Wakefield Wildcats coach James Webster says his new assistant's experience in the game means he will be a good appointment for the club.

Lee Gilmour has played with a host of clubs since starting his career in 1997 and will primarily be the Wildcats' assistant coach next season, as well as taking on some playing duties.

Chris Dawkes spoke to James Webster about his new right-hand man:

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Powell: Winning our games is all we can do

Castleford Tigers coach Chris Powell says his team are focusing on their own fixtures rather than those of other teams.

Powell did admit though he would have one eye on St Helen's tie with Wigan. A Saints loss means the Tigers still have a chance of finishing top of the Super League for the first time in their history.

Powell told Chris Dawkes that his team could only win the games they play to secure a top two finish:

Wildcats appoint Gilmour as assistant

Wakefield have appointed much-travelled former Great Britain forward Lee Gilmour as assistant coach on a two-year contract.

Lee Gilmour appointed Wildcats assistant Credit: Press Association

The 35-year-old former Wigan, Bradford, St Helens, Huddersfield and Castleford second rower, who joined the Wildcats on loan in May and has played in their last 11 matches, will join head coach James Webster and Stuart Dickens on the club's backroom staff from 2015 but will continue to be available to play.

"I've been really pleased with what Lee has offered in his time here," said Webster, who stepped up from the role of assistant coach when Richard Agar left the club in June.

His insight into the game has been very good and the knowledge and ideas he has are fantastic.

I think you'd find it hard to find a more experienced player still involved in the the game.

Lee is always keen to strap on his boots but he's coming as coach first. Should he ever want to play, he'll be able to.

– James Webster, Wildcats coach

Dewsbury-born Gilmour, who was out of the game for almost 12 months with shoulder and knee injuries before making his comeback with the Wildcats, is not yet ready to hang up his boots but is keen to get into coaching.

Physically I feel fine. I've really enjoyed it here. I had a tough year not playing but I got an opportunity to start again here.

We'll see how things go next year, a lot will depend on the squad we finish up with.

I coached Shaw Cross, my local amateur team, for about seven years, and I've been under some really good coaches over the years so hopefully I can pass some of that knowledge on.

– Lee Gilmour

Wakefield will be without captain Danny Kirmond for the rest of the seasonafter he was booked in for operations on both hands and a knee.

Hardaker 'cracking on' despite latest allegations

Leeds Rhinos' Zak Hardaker is training and playing as normal despite being at the centre of another homophobic comments row, according to his head coach.

Brian McDermott admitted the full back had been affected by the allegation which were made after the Rhinos lost to St Helens.

Chris Dawkes spoke to him ahead of the Super League tie against Wigan on Friday:

Halifax RLFC coaches leave to 'pursue other opportunities'

Halifax Head Coach Karl Harrison and his assistant Lee Greenwood are to leave the club after agreeing with directors that their contracts would not be renewed.

A statement on the club's website said:

In the context of current difficulties within the Club, for which they have no responsibility, the Directors have agreed with Karl that his 3 year contract should not be renewed, and have also agreed that he should have the immediate opportunity to pursue other opportunities, within the game

– Halifax RLFC statement
Karl Harrison playing for Halifax in 1997 Credit: Press Association

Karl Harrison is an outstanding man, who has served this Club with distinction on the field, as a member of its Hall of Fame, and as Coach. His period in charge will particularly be remembered for the Northern Rail Cup win in 2012. His achievements with the limited resources at his disposal have been exceptional.

Lee Greenwood is also a distinguished former player, whose coaching skills are outstanding as his successes with Calderdale College, demonstrate. When the time is right, and the Club’s position improves, I can envisage his rejoining the Coaching Team.

In the short term the Club wishes both of them well

– Michael Steele, Halifax RLFC Chairman

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Rhinos defend against Hardaker "witch-hunt".

Leeds have sprung to the defence of full-back Zak Hardaker, suggesting he may be the victim of a witch-hunt over further allegations of homophobic abuse.

Rhinos defend against Hardaker Credit: Press Association

The 22-year-old England international served a five-match ban earlier this year after being found guilty of making homophobic comments to referee James Child during Leeds' Super League game at Warrington on May 30 and now the Rugby Football League is investigating claims that he made an abusive comment during last Friday's home defeat by St Helens.

Hardaker was shown on television mouthing a comment to Saints forward Mark Flanagan, which was apparently heard by match referee Richard Silverwood, and Leeds say the RFL has employed the services of a lip reader to aid their investigation.

The Rhinos stood by their player following his ban in June and on Wednesday called for an external investigation into the actions of the governing body and its officials into their "vigorous" pursuit of the alleged incident.

We are concerned there appears to be a witch-hunt by the RFL towards Zak Hardaker and we are calling for an external investigation into the issues surrounding the investigation.

We know the match commissioner was asked by the media at the post-match press conference if the referee had reported any incident or comment and they were told 'no'.

We want to know why the referee's report quite mysteriously now contains a reference to a possible comment.

It seems incongruent with the RFL's stance and the vigour that they are now pursuing this incident with that the referee would not have reported this to his superior on the night, as is the protocol in these circumstances, or taken action during the game.

We understand a St Helens player has been interviewed and he has stated he did not hear anything. There is a hint of mystery about the whole issue and the use of a lip reader has added a new dimension to on-field conduct, particularly when games are televised.

– Leeds chief executive Gary Hetherington

A spokesman for the RFL declined to confirm whether the services of a lip reader were being called on. "An investigation is taking place," he said. Leeds confirmed that Hardaker would play against Wigan in Friday's top-six clash at the DW Stadium.

Hetherington added: "Whilst the RFL deliberate, we will continue to support Zak and at the same time press the RFL for clear transparency about the whole process."

Lauitiiti signs two year deal with Wildcats

Ali Lauitiiti has become the latest man to extend his stay at the Wildcats after penning a two-year deal that will keep him at the club until the end of 2016.

Ali Lauitiiti has signed a two-year deal with Wakefield Wildcats Credit: Press Association

The 35-year old signed for Trinity ahead of the 2012 season and has been an influential figure for the club in his 60 Super League appearances.

A former New Zealand international, Lauitiiti has made the second highest number of offloads for the Wildcats in 2014 despite only making 14 appearances having sustained a knee injury at the home of former club Leeds Rhinos in April.

I'm grateful to get the opportunity to sign up again and thankful to the club.

It's been an enjoyable three years. It's a great bunch of boys and the coaching staff are good so although we've had some tough times, the boys have stuck together and had a good team spirit.

– Ali Lauitiiti

Bulls captain to retire

Bradford Bulls captain Matt Diskin has announced he will retire at the end of the season.

Matt Diskin has announced he will retire at the end of the season. Credit: Bradford Bulls

The 32-year-old former Great Britain and England international has made 364 appearances for club, county and country, in a career spanning 14 years.

Dewsbury-born hooker Diskin turned professional as a Leeds Rhino, making his first-team debut in 2001, and went on to win four Super League titles with the Headingley club.

He was named man of the match in the 2004 Grand Final, claiming the Harry Sunderland Trophy as the Rhinos overcame Bradford at Old Trafford, and was crowned a World Club Challenge winner in 2008.

Diskin has made a total of 86 appearances for the Bulls, having arrived at the Provident Stadium in 2010, and has skippered the side for the past three seasons.

His representative honours include three Yorkshire, three England and seven England A caps, in addition to a solitary Great Britain appearance.

I have enjoyed a wonderful career, one which I would have happily completed for free.

I am extremely proud of what I have achieved in the game and, not being the most naturally-gifted player, I have done this through sheer hard work and determination.

– Matt Diskin
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