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Brian Noble could continue as Crusaders coach

Crusaders coach Brian Noble
Brian Noble has surpassed expectations with the Crusaders

Brian Noble says he wants to stay as Crusaders coach despite widespread speculation that he is to step down.

Crusaders' 18-12 play-off defeat at Huddersfield Giants was expected to be the former Great Britain coach's last in charge of the Welsh side.

But when asked afterwards if he wanted to stay, Noble said: "Absolutely, yes.

"We'll decide that over the next couple of weeks. There's certainly no rush for me to make a decision," Noble told BBC Sport Wales.

"But my future is taking away from what we've achieved and the players' hard work in getting to the last eight."

The former Bradford and Wigan coach, 49, who guided the Bulls to every domestic trophy in a five-year spell at Odsal, is tipped to try his hand in Australia.

But Noble said that his expected departure from the Racecourse Ground - with assistant Iestyn Harris strongly tipped to take over the Crusaders - was not yet certain.

Crusaders won just three games in their inaugural year last season under former coach John Dixon to finish bottom of Super League.

We should reflect on how proud we should feel about... repairing a torn and tattered reputation

Crusaders coach Brian Noble

But this season, following a switch from Bridgend to Wrexham because of financial problems, they surpassed all expectations to qualify for the play-offs on the final day of the league campaign.

"It's about the players," said Noble. "And we've had a fabulous coaching staff here.

"We've had to work really hard to squeeze every last bit of juice out of this team and the fans have seen that.

"That's why the people of Wrexham and the people of Wales should be very proud.

"What I said to the players was 'you've given yourselves a taste of the high life there' and they enjoyed it.

"I think they're bitterly disappointed because we could have gone on and kicked on, and we didn't.

"That should be for them to make sure they go a bit further next year, but we can hold our heads up high and walk out of this joint with our reputations intact."

Crusaders led 10-6 with 10 minutes to go at the Galpharm Stadium, but Jordan James' sin-binning and some nervy play allowed Huddersfield to snatch victory from their visitors.

Despite the disappointment of the loss - and regardless of whether he remains at the helm - Noble says that Crusaders now have a solid foundation to become an established force in Super League.

"I think the foundations are there for this club," he added.

"The potential of the Crusaders is unlimited but it has to be matched with ambition.

"If people buy into this place I think it could be absolutely huge."

"You've seen the potential of the fans and what they bring to Super League.

"They've shown their worth and, if anyone can't see that kind of potential in Super League, they are blind.

"We should reflect on how proud we should feel about all that we've done this year in repairing a torn and tattered reputation of a club and laying down some extremely good foundations to kick on and be better next year."

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see also
Huddersfield 18-12 Crusaders
11 Sep 10 |  My Club
Crusaders proving doubters wrong
10 Sep 10 |  Crusaders
Super League play-off verdict
11 Sep 10 |  My Club
Noble plays down quit speculation
07 Sep 10 |  Crusaders
Super League Show
17 Feb 08 |  Rugby League

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