Gleeson axed?

Martin Gleeson

Martin Gleeson

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SPECULATION was intensifying last night that Martin Gleeson has been axed by Wigan.

Coach Michael Maguire refused to comment on rumours the Warriors centre has left the club.

The 30-year-old did not play in last night’s 32-16 victory at Salford and afterwards, Maguire chose not to deny Gleeson’s Wigan career was over.

Asked whether the former Test international had been sacked, Maguire issued a firm “no comment”. He repeated that two-word answer on three further occasions; when asked whether he will ever play for the club again, whether he missed last night’s match due to injury, and if he could say when a comment might be made.

It is believed club officials met with Gleeson’s representatives yesterday afternoon and reached the decision to terminate the remaining two years of his contract.

Chairman Ian Lenagan also refused to comment last night, and gave no hint as to when a statement may be made to clarify the drama.

Gleeson has brushed with controversy in the past, most notably when he was banned for betting on his own team to lose while at St Helens.

His Wigan career has not been without incident – last year he missed a match after being disciplined by Maguire for an unspecified off-field incident. He was later banned for drink-driving, and just a week ago, it was revealed he had spoken to police about blackmail threats he had received.

Wigan signed Gleeson for a six-figure sum from Warrington in mid-2009, and though he never recaptured his vintage form, he was a regular member of the side and occasionally showed flashes of his brilliance – most memorably in last October’s Grand Final victory when he scored the first two tries to send the team on their way to a 22-10 victory.

While Maguire was keeping tight-lipped about Gleeson’s future, he was happy to praise his players for their performance against Salford. Thomas Leuluai scored two tries in a comfortable win.

“It was very pleasing, the boys worked extremely hard and I’m happy with how they came through,” said Maguire.

Wigan-born Malcolm Alker, the Salford assistant coach, and director of rugby Steve Simms took charge of the home side last night in Shaun McRae’s absence on medical grounds.

Simms said: “We were playing the second best team in the world, I’m proud of our performance.”