Rangi Chase looks set to become the next high-profile departure from Salford after the Super League club announced they had suspended him pending an internal disciplinary investigation.
The former England stand-off and Super League Man of Steel is thought to have become unsettled at the AJ Bell Stadium and has been left out of the team to play Halifax in the Super 8s on Saturday.
A statement from the club said: “Red Devils stand-off Rangi Chase has not been considered for selection this week, as he has been suspended pending an internal disciplinary investigation by the club.”
The 29-year-old Chase has recently been linked with a move to Warrington and Catalans Dragons despite having more than two years left on his contract.
He was the first major signing for Marwan Koukash when the racehorse owner took control of the club two and a half years ago, joining the Red Devils from Castleford on a four-year deal for a sum believed to be in the region of £115,000.
Salford have already parted company this year with internationals Gareth Hock and Kevin Locke while French scrum-half Theo Fages recently quit the club and skipper Harrison Hansen and Cory Paterson are expected to leave at the end of the season.
The likely loss of Chase will be a personal blow to Koukash, who set about building the team around the 2011 Man of Steel but has taken a back seat over recruitment and retention since bringing in Australia national coach Tim Sheens as director of rugby three months ago.
“It was a management decision and we’d like to keep it in house,” Koukash said of Chase’s suspension. “A disciplinary hearing has been scheduled.
“I am very disappointed not to see him in the team but, at the end of the day, I have to accept the decision made by the rugby side. I’m comfortable with how they’re handling it and whatever decision they come up with.”
The latest bombshell at Salford comes just 24 hours after the club confirmed the departure of Iestyn Harris as head coach following a period of sick leave and Koukash revealed on Thursday that there are no plans to bring in a replacement.
Harris’ assistant Ian Watson, the former Fax half back, is currently acting as interim head coach, with help from former player Martin Gleeson and Sheens.