x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Cowboys chief in health scare

Neil Henry, coach of the NRL outfit the North Queensland Cowboys, will find out today if he has been diagnosed with swine flu.

Neil Henry, coach of the NRL outfit the North Queensland Cowboys, will find out today if he has been diagnosed with swine flu. Henry and strength and conditioning coach Billy Johnstone were tested for the disease on Monday after showing flu-like symptoms at the weekend. They were expected to be told by health officials yesterday afternoon if they had become the first people in Townsville to be diagnosed with the illness, but they have been forced to sweat it out for an extra 24 hours.

They were part of the Queensland Origin team that featured Ben Hannant, who has been diagnosed with swine flu. The rest of North Queensland's Origin contingent - players Johnathan Thurston, Luke O'Donnell and Queensland 18th man Matt Scott - are in quarantine until tomorrow. The players have not shown any symptoms. Meanwhile, Penrith and NSW utility back Luke Lewis will miss the rest of the State of Origin series after being told he must undergo surgery on his broken toe.

Lewis suffered the injury in the Panthers' 26-10 victory over the Wests Tigers on Friday and will be sidelined for around two months. Lewis, who played in the Blues' 28-18 State of Origin defeat by Queensland in Melbourne last week, said on Sunday he was hopeful the injury would not be too serious, but X-rays have confirmed the worst. The 25-year-old, who sustained the injury in the final minutes of the win over the Tigers at Leichhardt Oval, will have the toe wired in an operation later this week.

In the Super League, St Helens second-row forward Andrew Dixon has signed a new three-year contract with the league leaders. The 19-year-old is the third youngster to pledge his future to the club in recent weeks following the decision of Matty Ashurst and Gary Wheeler to sign new deals. Dixon made his debut in the third round of Super League but has missed the last three months with a wrist injury.

"Andrew is another player who has taken his opportunities when they have been presented," said the Saints chief executive Tony Colquitt. "He is a committed and talented member of the first-team squad, has a good attitude to learn from those around him and works hard." London Skolars will be able to borrow Harlequins players on a regular basis after launching a new partnership with their Super League neighbours.

The two London clubs have reached an agreement with the Rugby Football League that will enable Quins players to join the Co-operative Championship 1 side on loan for a week at a time. Under the normal loan arrangements, players are committed to moving for a minimum of one month as part of their initial spell. "It's a win-win situation," said the Harlequins coach Brian McDermott. "Harlequins players that aren't playing first team every week will get valuable experience in a very intense and competitive environment and the Skolars get the use of some quality players every week."

Harlequins players Jamie O'Callaghan, Jack Graves and Rob Thomas played for the Skolars in their last match against Hunslet. Elsewhere, Widnes Vikings have suspended two unnamed players for seven days pending an investigation into a town-centre incident on Saturday night. Club officials viewed CCTV footage with the management and security staff of a local bar before making the decision to suspend the first-team pair.

"We will not tolerate behaviour of this kind," said Vikings' sporting director Terry O'Connor. * With agencies