Hunslet sack coach Gary Thornton

James Gordon

Photo courtesy of Richard Long

League 1 side Hunslet have sacked head coach Gary Thornton after four years in charge.

Thornton, 58, was relieved of his duties following Sunday’s defeat to Coventry Bears, where Hunslet squandered a 44-22 lead to lose 46-44.

Chairman Kenny Sykes said: “Sunday’s defeat follows a number of disappointing performances and results already this season. After due consideration the board has decided that a change of coach is needed to hopefully reinvigorate the squad and give us the best chance of success this season.

“We are very grateful to Gary for all his hard work over the last four years, particularly in dealing with a number of challenging logistical issues over Covid in the last twelve months, which were critical in getting us back playing.

“We wish him every success in the future.”

Thornton enjoyed nearly six years in charge at Batley, who he represented more than 200 times as a player, and is a three-time league coach of the year.

A two-year stint at York included guiding them to the League 1 leaders’ shield in 2014, before he was succeeded by current coach James Ford.

He held a final meeting with the players ahead of training on Tuesday, and attention now turns to finding a successor.

Assistant coach Mark Cass will take temporary charge of training and this Sunday’s home fixture against North Wales Crusaders, who beat Keighley last weekend.

One man who could be a contender for the role is former Leeds and Bradford hooker Matt Diskin.
Diskin, who had a spell in charge at Batley, was dismissed by Championship side Oldham last month.

Oldham announced on Monday evening that Super League winning former Leeds coach Brian McDermott will link up with the Roughyeds for the rest of the season as a ‘coaching consultant’.

Working with Brendan Sheridan, McDermott will try to help guide Oldham to Championship safety, starting this weekend when they welcome Bradford, a club he represented with distinction and won a Super League winners medal as a player.