Rugby League: Caretaker seeks permanent post: Opening for West

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The Independent Online
WIGAN have 'an open mind' on the identity of their next coach, as Graeme West begins a caretaker stint which he hopes could become permanent. The former New Zealand forward and Wigan reserve team coach, something of a forgotten man since he performed a similar holding operation before the arrival of John Monie in 1989, makes no secret of wanting the job, despite previous rebuffs.

'I do hope to be the Wigan coach on a longer-term basis,' he said yesterday as he began preparing the side for Sunday's Premiership tie against St

Helens.

Ironically, this appointment comes as West was being linked with the vacant coaching job at Keighley and as it began to look inevitable that he would have to move from the club at which he has spent over 11 years if he wanted to coach at first-team level.

'The door is open for him,' Jack Robinson, the Wigan chairman, said. 'This situation came upon us a lot quicker than we expected, and we have a totally open mind.'

Robinson flatly denies that approaches have been made to any other candidates, either

before or since the sacking of John Dorahy on Tuesday night.

In Australia, it is reported that the former Wigan captain, Ellery Hanley, has got the job, but Robinson maintains that there has been no contact.

The other name being bandied about is that of Monie, Dorahy's hugely successful predecessor. That conjecture, however, hangs on the flimsy pretext of Monie saying that he would like to 'go back and coach Wigan in the future'. His three-year contract with the Auckland Warriors stands in the way of that.

The precise background to Dorahy's departure has become a little clearer. Dorahy has played down the row between himself and Robinson on the way back from Wembley by saying: 'All coaches and chairmen have their arguments.

'They have accused me of gross misconduct, but I have been in the game for 20 years and anyone who knows me knows that that couldn't be right.'

Robinson denied that Dorahy had been left in the dark about the reasons for his sacking. 'John knows the reason why the situation is as it is,' he said. 'There have been a few things.'

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