Hull could turn to former Cowboy after sacking Sharp

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The Independent Online

Hull have sacked Peter Sharp, making him Super League's first coaching casualty of the season. The Australian, who was appointed just over two years ago, has paid the price for a poor start to the season, which has seen a squad ravaged by injury stand next to last after Sunday's defeat at Harlequins.

Sharp, the former Manly coach and, at 53, the oldest incumbent in Super League, guided Hull to the Grand Final in 2006, but has found the job more difficult since then.

His assistant, Richard Agar, has been put in charge for Sunday's game at home to St Helens, with a Challenge Cup quarter-final at Bradford looming a week later. He is viewed as a potential long-term successor, but Hull could be tempted by Graham Murray, the former Leeds coach who suddenly became available earlier yesterday when he resigned at the North Queensland Cowboys.

A popular ex-Hull player, Karl Harrison, has also been looking for a job since being sacked by Salford last season.

Sharp's exit brings to an end a fraught week for Hull, who are still waiting to learn the punishment for fielding the ineligible Jamie Thackray in the last two rounds of the Challenge Cup.

Hull's chief executive, James Rule, has shouldered the blame for a blunder that could prove expensive for the club. Although they have escaped expulsion from the competition, they face a heavy fine when the Rugby League finishes its investigation. "It was an administrative oversight and there has been a mistake made," Rule said.

"I'm there to take plaudits when things are going well and naturally in this position you take the criticism when things go badly. So as far as people need someone to blame they can put the blame at my door." In another blow to Hull, their utility back Richard Whiting will miss the rest of the season after breaking his leg in the defeat at Harlequins. Whiting had only recently returned to the side after a broken arm.

Bradford will be without one of the game's more durable players for up to two months. Chris Nero, who was ever-present for Wakefield last year and has played every game for the Bulls this time, broke his collar-bone in the 24-46 victory over Castleford on Sunday.

The Wigan prop Iafeta Paleaaesina yesterday pleaded guilty to inflicting grievous bodily harm on a bus driver after an incident at Wigan North Western railway station last October. The case was adjourned for a pre-sentence report. Paleaaesina will appear for sentencing on 16 June at Liverpool Crown Court.

Two players are to face multiple charges at the League's disciplinary hearing tonight. Warrington's Rob Parker, who has already been given a written warning about his tackling technique, is to face charges over three separate tackles against Wigan.

Ben Cockayne of Hull KR is accused of a dangerous throw and with striking an opponent with the forearm during Sunday's match at Huddersfield.