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Waikato has added Robbie Greenhalgh to its squad for the game against Otago on Sunday, in the wake of a host of younger players being influenced to withdraw by former coach Declan Edge.
Jesse Edge, Harry Edge, Ryan Thomas, Matt Oliver, Dan Looker, Bailey Webster, Harley Tahau, and Mohammed Awad ceased attending training last week, in the wake of Waikato's first win of the season against Manawatu, without any communication with the club.
When contacted for an explanation, Thomas advised he was now in a moonboot with a suspected stress fracture in his foot, while the others said they were no longer available for Waikato, effective immediately.
Declan Edge had previously advised of his intention to take up employment with the Ole Academy, at the end of his contracted period with Waikato, but was sacked under poor performance clauses a fortnight ago. Replacement coach Mark Cossey immediately turned results around at Waikato.
The players are all preparing to shift to Wellington to join Edge at his new post at the Ole Soccer Academy, which privately runs high performance programmes.