FORMER Castleford stand-off Rangi Chase looks set to become the next high-profile departure from Salford after the Super League club announced they had suspended him pending an internal disciplinary investigation.
The 29-year-old is thought to have become unsettled at the AJ Bell Stadium and has been left out of the team to play Halifax in the Super 8s on Saturday.
A statement from the club said: “Red Devils stand-off Rangi Chase has not been considered for selection this week, as he has been suspended pending an internal disciplinary investigation by the club. The club will not be making any further comment on this issue.”
Chase has recently been linked with a move to Warrington and Catalans Dragons despite having more than two years left on his contract.
He was the first major signing for Marwan Koukash when the racehorse owner took control of the club two-and-a-half years ago, joining the Red Devils from Castleford on a four-year deal for a sum believed to be in the region of £115,000.
Salford have already parted company this year with internationals Gareth Hock and Kevin Locke, while French scrum-half Theo Fages recently quit the club and captain Harrison Hansen and Cory Paterson are expected to leave at the end of the season.
The likely loss of Chase will be a personal blow to Koukash, who set about building the team around the 2011 Man of Steel but has taken a back seat over recruitment and retention since bringing in Australia national coach Tim Sheens as director of rugby three months ago.
“It was a management decision and we’d like to keep it in house,” Koukash said of Chase’s suspension. “A disciplinary hearing has been scheduled.
“I am very disappointed not to see him in the team but, at the end of the day, I have to accept the decision made by the rugby side. I’m comfortable with how they’re handling it and whatever decision they come up with.
“They’ve made me aware of the pending decision but only out of courtesy.”
The latest bombshell at Salford comes just 24 hours after the club confirmed the departure of Iestyn Harris as head coach following a period of sick leave and Koukash revealed on Thursday that there are no plans to bring in a replacement.
Harris’s assistant Ian Watson is currently acting as interim head coach, with help from former player Martin Gleeson and Sheens, who is putting together a business plan for Koukash.
Sheens, who has joined the Red Devils on a short-term arrangement, technically remains Australia’s national coach but is not expected to be re-appointed following the Kangaroos three successive defeats by New Zealand and Koukash says he expects him to remain at Salford in 2016, possibly even as head coach.
“I’m awaiting his recommendation and I hope that he will be part of the new set-up as well, whether that be as head coach or director of rugby,” said Koukash.
“I don’t think there are any plans to bring in any additional coaching staff. They are going to come back and tell me what structure they want.
“I know and Tim knows that he wants to stay on beyond his consultancy term.”