Tony Anderson has become the second coach in charge of a team in the Super League last season to lose his job within the last 24 hours. The Halifax coach saw his side lose all but one of their 28 matches to be relegated at the end of last term, but agreed to stay on to begin the rebuilding process and try to win promotion at the first attempt.
But Halifax have lost their first two games in National League One, to Doncaster and Oldham, and Anderson paid the price yesterday.
"Tony is a respected and successful former player whose service to the club has been outstanding," said a Halifax statement. "The club is stronger for his skillful development of young players; unfortunately, recent results at first-team level have forced the hand of the board."
The former Wakefield and Castleford half-back, Brad Davis, now player-coach with Villeneuve, has been linked with the job but Halifax have denied that he has been appointed.
Anderson's demise comes the day after Graham Steadman was sacked by Castleford, following the loss of all seven Super League games so far this season.
"Graham is a quality individual whose commitment to the Tigers for many years has been tremendous," said the club's chief executive, Richard Wright. "He has done everything he can to turn things around, but our early-season performances and particularly the losses over Easter have shown that something is not working and we have to change things."
Steadman called the board's decision "premature" but predicted that he will be back in coaching. "I'll move on and take a bit of time out," he said. "I hope one day to be in the away changing sheds and come back to haunt this place."
His assistant - and the former Halifax coach - Gary Mercer, will be in temporary charge.
Super League clubs have put off a decision on admitting the French club, Union Treiziste Catalan, into the competition in 2006 until another meeting next month.
UTC set out their business plan yesterday and the member clubs asked for more time before making a binding decision on 26 May.
The St Helens coach, Ian Millward, says that he will pick Sean Long and Martin Gleeson for their Challenge Cup semi-final against Huddersfield on Sunday if they are fit, despite the investigation into allegations that they bet against their own team at Easter.
Saints have also accused Huddersfield's chief executive, Ralph Rimmer, of "gamesmanship" and "trial by media" for arguing that the pair should be suspended for the semi-final.
Norman Sarsfield, the League's disciplinary commissioner, has opened a hotline for information about the affair - now widely believed to involve other players and other clubs. The number is 0870 0468587.
The Kiwi second-rower, Ali Lauiti'iti, could be in the market for a move to Britain after being released by the New Zealand Warriors.Reuse content