Rugby League: Saints board meet over Hanley

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The Independent Online
ELLERY HANLEY'S future as coach of St Helens could be on the line when the club's directors meet today to discuss his latest barrage of criticism aimed at them.

On Thursday he called the directors disgraceful, ignorant and rude and after his side's 21-16 Super League victory over Sheffield on Saturday he was in no mood to bring a stop to his rare talkative state.

Hanley, in his first season as head coach at Knowsley Road, berated the Saints board for refusing to meet the terms demanded by the New Zealand Test player Jarrod McCracken for next season.

Hanley, also angry over the club's failure to make Halifax's loose forward Martin Moana a short-term signing, revealed that he has no communication with either the football manager, Eric Hughes, or the club's physiotherapist, Jeanette Smith, Hughes' girlfriend.

"Everbody has got to move forward in the same direction," Hanleysaid. "Part of the club not talking to another part is absolutely crazy, it's bizarre.

"I'll talk to anybody at the club. Whether it's the directors, the tea lady, Stan the kit man or whoever. Everybody knows my door is always open. I'll sit down and talk to them if I have to be there until 12 o'clock or three o'clock in the morning."

Hughes said yesterday that the club intended to respond to Hanley's comments and that a statement would probably be made after the board meeting.

"It's time that people heard the club's side of things and I definitely want to respond sooner rather than later," Hughes said.

Hanley, who has 18 months of his contract to run, will clearly not let the matter drop. "I'm a forthright person," he said on Saturday. "If someone asks me a question, I will tell them the truth. The spectators deserve that, they pay the wages so why shouldn't they know what's going on."

Hanley said he was aware that the club had called a board meeting but added: "They haven't said anything to me yet.

"I think there was one comment from one of the directors who said `I'll see you on Monday' but, other than that, nobody has said anything to me about my comments."

Gavin Clinch inflicted a match-winning performance on his old Halifax team-mates yesterday. The new Wigan scum-half helped Kris Radlinski to a hat-trick of tries in 11 minutes as the Warriors cruised to a 30-4 win at Central Park.

Clinch and Chris Chester, who played key roles in the Blue Sox's 19-8 victory over Wigan in April, were again prominent, this time for their new club.

Karle Hammond was in outstanding form as he led London Broncos to an error-strewn 36-26 victory over Wakefield at The Stoop.

Mark Johnson's two tries gave Salford's survival hopes a boost in a dour clash against fellow strugglers Huddersfield, the Reds completing a 24- 10 success at the McAlpine Stadium.

Results, page 9