Eric Hughes, the St Helens head coach, was left stunned last night after being told by Saints that they would not be renewing his contract.
The announcement that the two had parted company came just before the home victory over London Broncos 48-18 and only four days after St Helens narrowly lost to Wigan in the Regal Trophy final, 25-16.
Hughes - whose contract expires at the end of the centenary season - had been in charge at Knowsley Road for two years after taking over from the New Zealander Mike McClennan in January 1994.
Hughes said: "Obviously, I'm disappointed, but that's life. They can put it whichever way they like, but at the end of the day I've been sacked."
Brian Case, Saints' Alliance coach, and John Myler, who is in charge of their Academy side, stepped in to take control for last night's match and will remain in charge until St Helens make a permanent appointment.
Australia's Sean McRae, the Canberra Raiders assistant coach, is the favourite to take over. Saints will be holding interviews over the next few days and hope to make an announcement before their Challenge Cup fourth- round tie at Castleford on Saturday week.Reuse content