Dragons intent on giving Robinson a glittering farewell
Dave Hadfield was a schoolboy convert to rugby league, the game which, one way or another, has dominated his life ever since. After working for newspapers in Shropshire and Blackpool (where he covered the fortunes of Blackpool Borough) he travelled the world, working mainly in Hong Kong and Sydney. He became The Independent's rugby league man in 1990 and has written five books on the game and broadcast extensively for Sky and the BBC. Dave played his last game at the age of 53 and would have set up a try if anyone could have been bothered supporting his break. When not writing about the sport, he now limits himself to a bit of tick and pass with his local club, the Bolton Mets. Family includes supporters - of varying degrees of dedication - of Salford, Wigan, Sheffield Eagles and St George Illawarra.
Saturday 08 September 2012
Catalan Dragons go into their final match of the regular Super League season today already knowing that they must start looking for a new coach.
Trent Robinson, who has put the Perpignan-based club back on its feet in his two years in charge, is leaving to take over at the Sydney Roosters, who sacked the former Bradford and Hull coach Brian Smith this week. The Dragons finished in last place under Kevin Walters in 2010, but Robinson got them into the play-offs and was named coach of the year last season.
They take on Bradford in the south of France this afternoon with a top four finish on the cards, which could mark a real drive for the Grand Final at Old Trafford as the ideal farewell for the coach.
Robinson has two French assistants, Laurent Frayssinous and Jérôme Guisset, either of whom could emerge as a candidate to succeed him.
The former Bradford and Wigan coach Brian Noble is bound to be touted as a contender, as is the Bradford incumbent and ex-Catalans coach Mick Potter, despite his insistence that he will go home to Australia if he is not still in charge at the Bulls.
Bradford go into today's match needing a win to keep them in competition with Wakefield for the eighth and last play-off place.
The Wildcats play Salford a couple of hours later in a match switched to the Leigh Sports Village because Sale Sharks are using the Salford City Stadium. The Salford chairman, John Wilkinson, has issued an apology to the club's fans for the inconvenience.
Wakefield go into the match on the back of a run of five wins and knowing that a victory will put them into the play-offs for only the third time in their history.
Hull KR, whose hopes of grabbing eighth place disappeared when they lost dramatically to Wigan last Sunday, are at London Broncos, who are one of three clubs bidding to avoid the wooden spoon.
The other candidates for that unsought honour are Castleford, who are at Hull today, and Widnes, who host Warrington in a local derby tomorrow.
Leeds, who are at Huddersfield tomorrow, have announced that their Kiwi Test full-back Brent Webb is joining the Catalans next season, as is Bradford's Olivier Elima.
London's Julien Rinaldi is to retire after today's game.
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