Rugby League


Heart attack has teammates scared

AUSTRALIAN Heath L'Estrange admits teammate Adrian Purtell's heart attack has had a profound effect on the Bradford Bulls as they return to Super League action.

Purtell, 27, was taken ill on the team bus after the defeat to Huddersfield on Sunday and Bulls coach Mick Potter has revealed he doesn't know if the centre will play again.

Purtell has been well enough to respond to a flood of get-well messages and the Bulls will play on as they host Castleford on Monday looking for a first win in three.

But joint-captain L'Estrange, who played in Manly's NRL premiership win in 2008, has conceded the shock is still at the forefront of the Bulls' minds, with several of his teammates expressing concerns over their own health.

''It's been pretty scary,'' L'Estrange said. ''We didn't know too much about it until we got him off the bus at Huddersfield.

''To think that a 27-year-old can suddenly be struck by something like that is scary. We're all thinking about our health now and the rest of the lads in the squad are looking at being screened.''


Bradford coach Mick Potter believes dehydration may have been partly to blame for Adrian Purtell's heart attack, the Daily Mail reported.

Having romped to an ill-tempered eight-try victory over St Helens to return to the top of the Super League, Wigan host Leeds, last year's grand final winners, on Friday.

Wigan will be without five forwards after an on-field brawl meant Gareth Hock, Chris Tuson and Lee Mossop were handed bans, while Harrison Hansen broke his jaw against the Rhinos and Paul Prescott remains sidelined with a knee problem.

But former Newcastle Knights centre George Carmont is convinced the Wigan Warriors have the strength in depth and the momentum to cope with their absentees against Leeds, their opponents in July's Challenge Cup semi-final.

''We pride ourselves on coming through these tough periods,'' he said. ''The top sides are always going to be tough when you come up against them and Leeds are no different.''