Geoff Toovey to coach the Newcastle Knights?

RUGBY LEAGUE: Will the bizarre NRL coaching merry-go-round see Geoff Toovey end up at the Knights next year?

That was one of the possible scenarios to emerge after the club officially announced Rick Stone's sacking as coach, with club legend Danny Buderus to take over for the rest of the 2015 season.

Toovey is expected to be sacked from his head coaching post at Manly as early as today, with former Penrith Panthers assistant Trent Barrett reportedly set to to come in as his replacement.

Toovey is one of the early favourites to be installed as the Knights coach next year, while former Dragons mentor Nathan Brown has also been mentioned as a possible candidate.

The Newcastle club announced Buderus would take charge of the team on an interim basis while it went through a formal process to appoint a coach for 2016.

"We thank Rick for his efforts and loyalty over a long period of time, and while these decisions are never easy, it was made in the best interests of the club," Newcastle Knights chief executive Matt Gidley said.

"The club will now undertake a formal review process of our entire football operations, of which the playing group is a key part.

"All have the opportunity to demonstrate over the next seven weeks why they should retain their position." The Knights said Stone's position at the club had become "untenable" following the team's dismal 52-6 thrashing at the hands of South Sydney on Saturday night.

That was Newcastle's 12th loss in 14 matches, after winning its first four games of the season.

After the Knights also suffered a poor season last year - finishing 12th under former mentor and master coach Wayne Bennett - Gidley backed the club's review to bring about some much-needed positive changes.

"The club strives to build a consistent, competitive and entertaining team and this formal review process will help us achieve this," he said.

Brown has worked as a coaching consultant at the Storm under premiership-winning mentor Craig Bellamy this year.

His chances of returning to a head coaching role in the NRL rose when he led St Helens to victory against Wigan in last year's Super League grand final.

The Sea Eagles have enjoyed a mini-resurgence - winning four of their past six games under Toovey, a favourite son with many at Brookvale.

But it won't be enough to spare him the axe as the board goes about transforming the club - including a mass player clean-out - next year.

- APN SPORTS BUREAU


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