AFTER news of Tony Smith’s impending departure from Wolves broke yesterday evening, attention now turns to who could replace him at The Halliwell Jones Stadium.

Chief executive Karl Fitzpatrick is flying to Australia today with a view to returning with a list of suitable candidates to present to owner Simon Moran and the board of directors.

As that list is drawn up, we look at the possible routes the Wolves hierarchy could go down.


FOR a team that clearly needs to be rebuilt, an experienced hand could be the best way to go.

Several reports have installed recently-departed South Sydney coach Michael Maguire as the early favourite for the post.

Having guided Wigan to a Super League title and a Challenge Cup during his two-year spell at the DW Stadium, ‘Madge’ then returned to his native Australia to steer Souths to an NRL Premiership in 2014.

His track record is proven, but whether or not he fancies a return to north west England remains to be seen.

As it did when he left Wigan in 2012, the wishes of Maguire’s young family will also come into consideration.

Neil Henry is another option with vast experience in the NRL and is unattached having just been relieved of his duties with Gold Coast Titans.

The winner of the Dally M Coach of the Year award in 2008 while in charge of Canberra Raiders, Henry also had a four-year spell in charge of North Queensland Cowboys before moving to the Titans.

Canterbury head coach Des Hasler could well be available as his position is currently in question, while former New South Wales head coach Laurie Daley is also unattached but Wolves would be his first coaching job outside of representative football.


THE romantics among us would love to see current Wolves assistant Lee Briers given a crack at the top job.

Having firmly established himself as a Wire legend, Briers’ coaching career has been slowly developing as part of Smith’s backroom staff, but is it too early for him to step up?

Warrington Guardian:

Lee Briers has been on the Wolves coaching staff since retiring in 2013. Picture by Mike Boden

Another former Wire man making his name as an assistant coach is Michael Monaghan, currently in situ as Steve McNamara’s understudy across the English Channel at Catalans Dragons.

Monaghan is another fans’ favourite with the club but, like former teammate Briers, it would be his first head coach position.

Warrington Guardian:

Michael Monaghan is currently assistant coach at Catalans Dragons. Picture by Mike Boden.

Further afield, The Wire could follow the leads of other Super League clubs and tempt over a talented Australian assistant coach with the lure of a top job.

Garth Brennan, currently reserve grade coach at Penrith Panthers where he will have coached the likes of departing Wolves man Peta Hiku and incoming signing Sitaleki Akauola, is highly thought-of Down Under.

North Queensland assistant Todd Payten is also promising but, like Brennan, also has NRL clubs interested in his services.

Adrian Lam, who has extensive Super League history with Wigan, is currently working behind the scenes with Sydney Roosters and the Australian national team but many feel he is ready to step up to a head coach’s role.


OF course, there are plenty of promising English coaches that could be tempted by the chance to turn Warrington’s fortunes around.

However, with most of them contracted, compensation would be required to bring them to The Halliwell Jones Stadium.

The obvious target in this case would be Castleford’s Daryl Powell, who has transformed the Tigers into red-hot Grand Final favourites while playing a swashbuckling, easy-on-the-eye style.

However, Powell has spent years tweaking his squad to get it into this position. Would he be given the same luxury with Wolves?

Warrington Guardian:

Daryl Powell has impressed many with the work he has done at Castleford, but would a move to Wolves tempt him? Picture by Mike Boden.

Wakefield boss Chris Chester has also worked miracles with his side, taking them to the verge of a top-four finish. Would he flourish in a job at a so-called “bigger club.”

Warrington Guardian:

Could Chris Chester be having many more conversations with Wolves chairman Steven Broomhead in the future? Picture by Mike Boden.

Keiron Cunningham could also be tempted by a return to coaching from his current role as head of rugby at Leigh Centurions, but would he be a popular choice with the fans?

Warrington Guardian:

Keiron Cunningham watches his Leigh side against Wolves on Saturday. Picture by Mike Boden.

Ian Watson has also emerged as a young coach to watch this season, despite his Salford side stumbling over the finishing line having reached the Super 8s and the Challenge Cup semi final.

All will become clear in time, but whoever is chosen to take over Smith’s position will have plenty of work to do.