SHAUN Wane was last night remaining tight-lipped about fresh links to the New Zealand Warriors.
The double-winning coach has been installed as favourite with a leading bookmaker to take over at the NRL outfit next year.
Matt Elliott resigned in wake of a 37-6 loss to Cronulla at the weekend.
And online betting agency sportsbet.com.au has Wane priced as a short priced 6/4 favourite to be the next permanent successor.
Andrew McFadden, who joined Elliott’s staff in 2013, will act as head coach of the club for the remainder of the year and is listed at $3.25 to retain the role next season.
St Helens coach Nathan Brown and Neil Henry are also in the mix.
Wane would not be drawn on the speculation last night, offering only a polite “no comment”.
But that silence may only fuel the rumours that he is being considered for the position.
Although Wane has recently said he is happy with his job at his home-town club, he has never shied away from the fact he would like to coach in the NRL at some stage in his career.
He has been linked with the NZ Warriors in the past.
He is close friends with their general manager, ex-Wigan captain Dean Bell, and his stock is high after guiding Wigan to a league and Cup double last season – despite losing a clutch of big-name stars.
Wane revealed at the start of this season he had verbally agreed a new three-year deal.
But there has been no official confirmation of an extension from the club, suggesting the contract has not been signed and he is a free agent at the end of the year.
NZ Warriors are 13th in the 16-team league after two wins from their opening five games.
Tomkins and his team-mate Thomas Leuluai are both known admirers of their former Wigan mentor.
Matthew Johns, a TV and radio presenter and former Wigan star, said: “When they lured Sam, I think they told him, ‘Don’t worry, your coach will be joining you in 12 months’.”