Former NRL player Rangi Chase looks set to become the next high-profile departure from Salford, with the Super League club announcing they have suspended him pending an internal disciplinary investigation.
The ex-England five-eighth is thought to have become unsettled and has been left out of the team to play Halifax on Saturday in the Super 8s.
“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,” a brief Salford statement said.
“The club will not be making any further comment on this issue.”
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 around STG115,000 ($A250,000).
Salford have already parted company this year with internationals Gareth Hock and Kevin Locke while French halfback Theo Fages recently quit 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 Australian national coach Tim Sheens three months ago as director.
“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.
“They’ve made me aware of the pending decision but only out of courtesy.”
On Wednesday, the club confirmed the departure of coach Iestyn Harris following a period of sick leave and Koukash revealed on Thursday there were no plans to bring in a replacement.
Harris’ assistant Ian Watson is acting as interim coach, with help from former player Martin Gleeson and Sheens, who is putting together a business plan for Koukash.
Sheens, who has joined on a short-term arrangement, technically remains Australia’s coach but is not expected to be re-appointed following the Kangaroos’ three successive defeats by New Zealand and Koukash says he expects him to remain at Salford in 2016, possibly even as head coach.