Doncaster will confirm one of the unlikeliest rugby league stories of the year today by unveiling Ellery Hanley as their new coach.
The iconic former Great Britain captain, who has been out of the game since his sacking by St Helens at the start of the 2000 season, is thought to have agreed a three-year contract with the National League Two club. He has already met the players at training and will now take charge of their preparations for the coming season.
His appointment is a major coup for what has been historically one of the League's least glamorous clubs. They were relegated at the end of last season after having six points deducted for breaching the RFL's rules on insolvency, but now, partly on the strength of the state-of-the-art Keepmoat Stadium which they share with Doncaster Rovers, have ambitions to win a Super League licence.
Though they were briefly coached in the 1980s by another black Great Britain captain, Clive Sullivan, Hanley is by far the biggest name ever to be linked with the club. His playing career with Bradford, Wigan and Leeds is without peer in the modern era and he has recently been voted Britain's greatest Test player.
He coached his country in 1994-95, before leading St Helens to the Super League title in his one full season in charge in 1999.
Since then, his only direct involvement with the game has been as a consultant with Castleford during their relegation season in 2004.
Wigan's assistant coach, Stuart Wilkinson, is leaving the club by mutual agreement. He has been in charge of the club's academy side for the past two seasons and his departure is the first backroom change under the new ownership of Ian Lenagan.Reuse content