IN the end, there was a sense of inevitability about Daryl Powell’s departure from Warrington Wolves.

Everything about the day that turned out to be his last as head coach screamed “the end,” whether it was the putrid performance of the team at Wakefield or barbs he fired at his players post-match in what now can be seen as a scorched-earth parting shot.

The immediacy of the news being confirmed – barely four hours after the hooter had sounded on Powell’s 50th and final game in charge – suggests it had already been made clear he was on his last chance.

From the outside looking in, it may seem a strange decision – even despite this wretched recent form, Warrington are still handily placed to reach the play-offs, which would represent a creditable recovery having finished second-bottom last year.

Those who have followed things closely over the past few months, however, will tell of performances having largely taken the same nose-dive as results, culminating in the horror show at Wakefield.

The writing was on the wall and The Wire are left to reflect upon a coaching appointment that was well-intentioned but has ended in failure.

The great hope was that Powell would bring with him the kind of swashbuckling, free-flowing rugby that endeared his Castleford Tigers side to neutrals.

In theory, that prospect of the likes of George Williams, Daryl Clark and co singing from that particular hymn sheet was a mouth-watering one.

In order to get there, however, Powell made clear there had to be a rebuild and for the long-term goal to be fulfilled, there was likely to be some short-term pain as the squad was remoulded.

Nobody quite expected as much as there was, with an 11th-placed finish the club’s worst in the Super League era as they swapped battles for trophies with a scrap for survival.

Amid the turmoil saw the departures of the likes of Josh Charnley and Mike Cooper among others – players who had served the club well but were deemed not to fit Powell’s vision for the future.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but one can’t help but wonder if Powell would have applied the scalpel to the squad as opposed to a sledgehammer if he had his time again.

The departure of Cooper – a hometown hero still among the side’s best performers at the time – rankled greatly and while letting the likes of Charnley, Jack Hughes and the like leave was accepted at the time, seeing them thrive at Leigh Leopards alongside Matt Davis, Oliver Holmes – a Powell signing gone wrong – and a player he admittedly wanted to keep in Robbie Mulhern twists the knife.

Having been given carte blanche to shape the squad in his image as he saw fit and as such, many reserved judgement on Powell until this year - an uneasy truce, if you will.

It looked like things were paying off as The Wire flew out of the traps, but the wheels started to wobble when Thomas Mikaele left for Australia before the Josh McGuire saga shook the club to its core.

From then on, things only seemed to be heading one way.

Even despite the flying start to the season, however, there was always a sense that it would not take much for supporter opinion to turn against the Yorkshireman and so it proved.

It did not take long for him to lose the terraces and now, his support base has vanished completely and the Daryl Powell chapter of Warrington Wolves’ history is closed.

So what now? Where does the club go from here?

Justin Holbrook – the man who kickstarted the era of dominance currently being enjoyed down the road at St Helens – is out of work and will be many fans’ favourite to take over.

It is believed Wire are keen to speak to him about the role, but whether he can be convinced to return to these shores is another matter.

Lee Briers has his advocates too – it would certainly be a romantic choice to install the club icon, but he has never been in complete charge of a first-grade side. Plus, would he be willing to cut short his time in Australia with Brisbane Broncos?

And is there a case for allowing Gary Chambers and Richard Marshall – two men with Warrington Wolves at their very heart – to see out the season?

The campaign is still very much salvageable on paper at least, although you have to wonder if a maximum of 10 games is enough to turn what was dished up at Wakefield into something good enough to lift a Super League title whoever is in charge.

Whoever gets the nod will have to be the right fit long-term and be able to work with a squad that is largely under contract for next year – and beyond in a lot of cases – as well as nurturing a talented crop of young players into being Super League stars.

What can be said for certain is that the coming days and weeks are among the most significant in this club’s recent history.

They simply have to get this next move right.