Catalan face new era with no leader

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The Independent Online

The Super League newcomers, the Catalan Dragons, could start their inaugural season without a head coach, following the sacking of Steve Deakin.

Deakin was dismissed this week for "incompatibility" with the French club's players and the former Great Britain coach, David Waite, has the task of finding a successor.

"We won't be rushing," said Waite, who is the club's director of rugby. "We may have someone for the start of the season or we may not. I will be taking on some extra responsibility and there will be very little change to the day to day delivery of the programme."

Waite is on holiday in Vancouver for the next week, so any movement is unlikely before then. "The first thing I have to do is see who is available. I have an open mind about the nationality of the coach," he added.

Waite is close to John Monie, the Australian who is the coach of the French national side, but he might be reluctant to take on the extra commitment. Justin Morgan, who coached Toulouse with great success before taking over at Hull KR, is another whose name will be mentioned.

Waite said he had been surprised by the board's decision to sack Deakin, the Englishman who has prepared the Catalans for Super League over the last three seasons. "It's very disappointing from the point of view of a coach who had a vision for the club, but it won't make a dramatic difference to our preparations," he said.

Waite denied rumours that players had become disaffected when they had not been paid on time. "Everyone has been paid and the players are not out of pocket," he said.

Former Salford target Craig Gower may have his contract cancelled by Penrith. The Australia international has been accused of drunkenly harassing the 17-year-old daughter of a former Test player at a golf day.

Brian Carney has reported for training with his new Australian club, Newcastle, despite being hurt in a mountain bike accident.