Betting plunge on Cowboys sacking Murray

A leading bookmaker has suspended betting on their first NRL coach to be sacked market following an unexpected plunge on North Queensland coach Graham Murray.

Sportingbet Australia suspended their market after five new accounts were opened Tuesday morning with each punter wagering between $1,000 and $4,000 on Murray to be the first coach sacked in 2008.

The Cowboys have lost three successive games and sit second-last on the NRL table.

Murray has already been told he will not coach the team in 2009, with former assistant and current Canberra mentor Neil Henry to return to Townsville on a five-year deal from next season.

But the betting gave rise to speculation he could be axed sooner.

"Where there is smoke there is fire," said Sportingbet Australia chief executive Michael Sullivan.

"They have just dumped a significant amount of money on Murray to get the sack.

"When something like that comes along we obviously had to put the market down."

Other coaches to figure on betting include Steve Folkes of the Bulldogs and Nathan Brown at St George Illawarra, both already told they won't be required next year, and Penrith's Matthew Elliott.