Hull FC have begun the search for a new head coach following the sudden departure of Brett Hodgson.
The 44-year-old Australian, who had just completed his second season with the Super League side, has left by mutual consent, the club announced.
Under Hodgson, who joined the Black and Whites from Wests Tigers ahead of the 2021 season, they finished a disappointing eighth in his first year and Saturday’s humiliating 36-4 derby defeat by injury-hit Hull KR condemned them to a ninth-place finish in 2022.
Hull chairman Adam Pearson said: “On behalf of the board, staff and supporters of Hull FC, I would like to thank Brett for the commitment and dignity he has demonstrated during his two years with the club.
“Brett joined us during a period of transition and the disruption caused by Covid-19, as well as facing further challenges presented by injuries and suspensions.
“The process of appointing a new head coach is underway, with a focused shortlist to identify right person to get the best out of our senior squad, but also someone who will continue to embrace our long-term strategy from grassroots to first team.
“We are encouraged by the progress of our academy and Centre of Excellence programme, plus the investment in a new multi-million pound training centre – but we recognise that delivering a competitive team on a consistent basis at first-team level is crucial to underpinning everything at the club.
“We are confident of making a prompt appointment following the recruitment process and remain focused on improving performance at first-team level to meet the expectation of our supporters and stakeholders.
“I would like to thank all of our members, supporters and corporate partners for their continued unwavering support.”
Hodgson enjoyed a stellar playing career as a full-back with Parramatta and Wests Tigers, with whom he won the 2005 NRL premiership.
He played in Super League for Huddersfield, where he won the 2009 Man of Steel Award, and Warrington, with whom he won both the Challenge Cup and the Lance Todd Trophy.
Hull have also announced the departure of Hodgson’s assistant and long-serving head of performance Paul Hatton and say a new head coach will be appointed “in the near future” to ensure he has a full pre-season to prepare the squad for 2023.
Former England and Great Britain coach Tony Smith, who is out of work after losing his job at Hull KR in July, is already among those being linked with the vacancy.