Race for Aussie Blake hots up

Hull Kingston Rovers' Blake Green beats Catalan Dragons'  Damien Cardace (left) and Darryl Millard to score

Hull Kingston Rovers' Blake Green beats Catalan Dragons' Damien Cardace (left) and Darryl Millard to score

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WIGAN may need to pay a transfer fee to land Australian stand-off Blake Green.

The Hull KR play-maker yesterday emerged as Shaun Wane’s top target to replace Brett Finch next season.

But Green has two years remaining on his contract at Craven Park.

And given he is highly-regarded by the Robins following his commanding performances over the past two seasons, they would be reluctant to lose him.

But sources say that will not deter Wigan from pursuing ex-Cronulla No.6 Green.

Although transfer fees in rugby league are rare, chairman Ian Lenagan has stumped up cash in the past, most recently when he paid Salford an undisclosed fee for halfback Matty Smith last month.

Previously, he’s paid transfers for Karl Pryce and Martin Gleeson.

Wane has carried out an exhaustive search for a new stand-off since Finch announced he is heading home at the end of this season.

And after deciding against making moves for Castleford’s Rangi Chase and St George-Illawarra’s Jamie Soward and Ben Hornby, it is understood that Green is now their top target.

The 25-year-old – a former Australian Schoolbyos international – joined the Robins from Canterbury Bulldogs last term and quickly became a fans’ favourite at Craven Park. Wane has made no secret of the fact he has been scouring Super League, the NRL and even rugby union for a new stand-off.

But he has stressed that 20-year-old Sam Powell – impressive on a try-scoring debut against Hull FC earlier this month – will not be squeezed out by any arrival.

Powell would have faced Warrington last weekend, but for an injury the day before.

“If somebody can give me something better than Sam can next year then it doesn’t mean a backward step for Sam,” said Wane last week.

“Even if I was to sign somebody, he will play games – and a lot of games as well.”

Wigan also have promising England academy halfbacks George Williams and Ryan Hampshire in the wings.

CLUB legend Shaun Edwards will present the Edwards-Johnson Memorial Trophy to Wigan’s Under-20s player of the year on Monday, when Warriors host Salford.

Edwards’ brother, Billy Joe, and Craig Johnson – brother of ex-player Paul – died in a car crash in 2003.