Goodway forced out as Wigan ring the changes

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The Independent Online

The Great Britain manager, Andy Goodway, has lost his job as the head coach of Wigan.

The Great Britain manager, Andy Goodway, has lost his job as the head coach of Wigan.

Goodway, who had 12 months of his contract to run, and his assistant, the Australian David Miles, departed with immediate effect, the new club chairman, Maurice Lindsay, announced yesterday.

"We are going to have a completely fresh start at the club," said Lindsay, who returned to the helm last month after retiring as Super League's managing director. "I want to restructure the whole club from top to bottom. I met Andy Goodway last night and we agreed to part company. I stress that it was very amicable. I've known the lad for 15 years. He is one of my old boys. It's obviously sad to sit down with a good friend and agree to part."

Goodway, formerly the assistant to John Monie, stepped into the coach's role in mid-season and guided Wigan to fourth place in Super League. It was their worst finish for several years and, following a surprise defeat in the first round of the play-offs, they were left without a trophy for the first time in 15 years.

Goodway, a former Wigan and Great Britain international forward, was first appointed to the coaching staff at Wigan by Lindsay and went on to hold senior positions at Oldham and Paris St Germain before being appointed the Great Britain coach in September 1997. Lindsay yesterday insisted that the club does not have a replacement lined up. "We didn't go behind Andy's back," he said. "The position is now vacant. We will look for another coach as soon as possible."

Wigan are almost certain to look to Australia to fill the vacancy, with Phil Gould a hot tip after quitting his job as coach of Sydney City despite having two years left on his contract. Another likely candidate is Wayne Bennett of Brisbane while Ellery Hanley, the St Helens coach, could figure in the club's long-term plans.

The former Wigan captain, Dean Bell, a New Zealander, has already been linked with a return to his old club, where he has established a reputation for nurturing talent as head of junior development.

Meanwhile, Goodway's position as Great Britain coach is also under threat. Although the team is not scheduled to play fixtures now until 2001 because the national team is being split into England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland for the World Cup, Goodway is not expected to see out the one year remaining on his contract following Britain's poor showing in the recent Tri-Nations series.

* The former Great Britain scrum-half, Bobbie Goulding, is set to switch codes after being released by Huddersfield. The 27-year-old Goulding, who collected the last of his 17 Test caps against Australia in 1997, has recovered from a broken leg and started training with London Welsh.