Widnes hand chance to Stankevitch

Widnes’s caretaker coach, John Stankevitch, is likely to be given an extended chance to show that he should be considered for the full-time job. Stankevitch, assistant to Steve McCormack, who was sacked on Monday, has been put in charge, starting with Saturday’s Northern Rail Cup game against Gateshead.

Widnes have already had applications, but are in no rush. Ellery Hanley, who coached Stankevitch at St Helens, is not among the immediate contenders. He is likely to have opportunities outside the game after his recent spot in Dancing on Ice. “We’ve not advertised the job yet, but have already had eight applications,” the club’s owner, Steve O’Connor, said.

It would be a surprise if those names did not include Paul Cullen, sacked last season by Warrington, but Stankevitch was keen yesterday to stress he is a candidate. “Whilst I want to be the head coach, if that means continuing my development alongside a new head coach, so be it,” he said.

The Rugby Football League has got around its shortage of Super League referees following the suspension of Richard Silverwood by using the Australian referee Jason Robinson, who is here to officiate at next weekend’s World Club Challenge between Leeds and Manly, for the Warrington versus Catalan Dragons match on Saturday.

The Hull KR centre Chev Walker has been suspended for one match for striking and will miss the game against his former club Leeds on Friday.

The Huddersfield prop, Eorl Crabtree, will be out for six weeks with a torn hamstring.