DEPARTING Wakefield Wildcats head coach John Kear could only look on in disbelief as his side collapsed to a 40-6 defeat at the hands of crisis-hit Crusaders at the Rapid Solicitors Stadium on Sunday.
A huge week for the Wildcats started with the club winning a new three-year Super League licence against the odds, ironically with some help from Crusaders withdrawing their application, and finished with Kear announcing he’ll be leaving the club at the end of the season and a heavy defeat at the hands of the Welsh club.
Lloyd White scored a brace of tries for the visitors, who now face an uncertain future in rugby league following Tuesday’s franchise announcement, to give them a seven-try success at Belle Vue.
Josh Veivers scored the only points for the hosts on a day to forget for Wakefield fans, players and officials.
The win for basement side Crusaders hauled them to within two points of Wakefield with just four Super League games to go this season and Kear won’t want to bring his time as Wakefield boss to an end by finishing bottom of the pile.
He’s been linked as a potential replacement for Terry Matterson at his hometown club Castleford Tigers at the end of the season and insists the time is right for a change at Wakefield.
“I am a subscriber to the philosophy that coaching has a five-year cycle,” he said.
“Having joined the Wildcats in 2006, this is the time to seek a fresh personal challenge, thus coinciding with the Club’s new ownership and Super League licence.
“My tenure with the Wildcats started with that unforgettable end-of-season run of four wins out of six to avoid relegation, further highlighted by the 2008 campaign with a club best-ever Super League finish of fifth and a highly creditable Challenge Cup semi-final appearance.
“Throughout the five years, the Club has established itself as a mid-table side, this season being made onerous by financial crisis resulting in a crippling points deduction.
“The pressure of always working below salary cap has provided the opportunity to coach the development of players from potential to performance, such as Danny Brough, Richard Moore, Dale Ferguson, Ryan Atkins and, in the present outfit, Stuart Howarth and Tommy Lee.
“It has been a pleasure and an honour to make a contribution to a club with the heritage of Wakefield Trinity and my thanks go to the Directors, both current and previous, the players, backroom staff, sponsors and, particularly, the loyal supporters.”
Wildcats chief executive James Elston said: ” Having sat down with John this week all parties felt it was the right time to make a change, John Kear has played a major part in the recent history of the Wildcats and I wish to place on record our thanks for what he has achieved since coming in to the post in 2006.
“There have been some testing times at the club throughout his campaign and John has always approached each situation with dignity and professionalism. We wish him well for the future remain supportive for the rest of this season”.
Kear’s departure could also put an end to rumours linking former Leeds Rhinos centre Keith Senior with a move to the Wildcats.
Senior, who was due to take up a two-year contract with Crusaders before their decision to withdraw from Super League, had revealed his desire to work with Kear again after the pair worked together at Sheffield Eagles.
Wakefield will now begin the search for a new coach to replace Kear in time for the start of the 2012 campaign.
See this week’s Wakefield Express Sport for all the latest sports news from around the district.