Damian is boss for now: Steele

Obvious candidate? Batley boss Karl Harrison
Obvious candidate? Batley boss Karl Harrison

HALIFAX’S caretaker coach Damian Ball looks certain to be offered the chance to pilot the club’s charge towards the Co-operative Championship play offs after chairman Michael Steele ruled out the “panic appointment” of a new boss.

Ball, the former assistant to Grand Final-winning mentor Matt Calland, took charge at the 11th hour for Sunday’s 76-38 league win over York after Calland left the club by “mutual consent” - and amid no little mystery - on Friday evening.

But the former York, Rochdale and Fax loose forward admitted after the game he was “completely in the dark” about whether his stewardship would extend beyond Saturday night’s home clash with Toulouse.

“I think it is highly likely that we will ask Damian to take us through to the end of the season,” confirmed Steele.

“What we would not want to do is make a panic appointment now that might prevent us from making the right long term appointment later.

“The first thing we need to do is get today’s Super League announcement out of the way, because that would obviously have a significant impact on our next course of action.

“But Damian did a tremendous job in adverse circumstances last weekend and we have every confidence in his ability and that of the rest of the coaching staff.”

Steele said no decision had been taken on whether or not to advertise what looks to be arguably the top coaching job outside Super League in 2012, with expressions of interest already coming in from both sides of the world.

“We will consider that in due course, although I suspect it may not be necessary,” said Steele.

“We have already had communication from several people, both in this country and in Australia, who are keen to become the next coach of Halifax RLFC.

“We will assess the situation over the next few days and make decisions from there.”

One man who has inevitably been linked with the job already is the current Batley coach, and former Salford and England A boss, Karl Harrison.

The former Great Britain prop captained Fax for almost a decade, is a member of the club’s Hall of Fame and has never made any secret of his affection for his former employers.

Harrison himself cooled initial speculation over the weekend, confirming he would remain with the Bulldogs - who he guided to the 2009 Northern Rail Cup - until the end of the season at least.

“As I keep saying, I’m very happy at Batley Bulldogs,” said Harrison.

“I’m certainly not going to allow anything to derail Batley’s season.”

Steele also confirmed that Fax were still waiting to hear whether their coaching consultant Brian Noble, who played such a major role in turning the club’s fortunes around after arriving in May, was prepared to stay and work alongside Ball.

Noble, who has not been sighted at the club since the NRC decider at Blackpool because of a combination of personal commitments and BBC TV duty, is on a month-by-month deal which effectively runs out this week.