HULL KR have parted company with coach Craig Sandercock, writes Dave Craven.
The Australian, whose deal was due to expire at the end of the season, had been deliberating over a new one-year contract at Craven Park.
However, talks had broken down in recent weeks and, in a surprise development tonight, he left the East Yorkshire club.
Rovers sit in ninth spot , three points adrift of the play-off spots which had been deemed their target in 2014.
The unheralded Sandercock, a former economics teacher who worked as an assistant at Manly and Newcastle Knight, took charge in October 2011, replacing fellow countryman Justin Morgan.
The club has not kicked on as much as they would have liked under his command finishing 10th in his debut season and just scraping into the play-offs in eighth place last year only due to Bradford Bulls receiving a six-point penalty deduction for entering administration.
However, the 44-year-old has endured some wretched luck with injuries to his squad at times and, further in his defence, he has been praised for the way in which he has developed a crop of talented young players in East Hull, including Liam Salter, Jordan Cox and James Green.
They host leaders St Helens on Sunday with assistant Chris Chester taking charge.
Francis Cummins, recently sacked by Bradford, will be an obvious contender for the role although Rovers chairman Neil Hudgell is also a fan and friend of Hull-born England coach Steve McNamara, currently working as Sydney Roosters assistant in the NRL.
A club statement read: “Hull Kingston Rovers can confirm they have today parted company with head coach Craig Sandercock with immediate effect.
“The club has made the decision not to renew Craig’s contract in 2015 and with that in mind have placed Chris Chester in charge of first team duties initially until the end of the season whilst a full review of all off-field operations is carried out.
“The club would like to thank Craig for all his hard work over the last three years and wishes him well in the future.”