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“I ask three things” – Ian Blease sends message to Leeds Rhinos fans

Leeds Rhinos badge and Ian Blease

Ian Blease was named as the new sporting director for Leeds Rhinos in a press conference on Monday.

His appointment marked an end to seven-and-a-half years in a similar role at Salford Red Devils, where he was widely praised, particularly for his work on a low budget.

The move from the Rhinos was also met with overwhelming praise from fans, seeing the appointment as much-needed positive news coming out of Headingley.

During the press conference, he spoke to them directly, asking for three particular things.

Quiz: Can you name all these ex-Leeds Rhinos players?

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Ian Blease asks three things of Leeds Rhinos fans

Ian Blease, new Leeds Rhinos sporting director, at Salford Red Devils stadium

Credit: Imago Images

“I would ask three things of the Leeds fans.

“Firstly, get behind the team starting this week at Hull FC.

“What makes the Rhinos special is the incredible family that is the club’s fanbase. With you behind the team, it gives the guys such an advantage.”

The Rhinos’ fanbase has been remarkably consistent this season, and they’ve had some of the best attendances in Super League this season.

Keeping this up will certainly be key to any resurgence from the side on the field.

He went on to add: “Secondly, I ask them for their patience.

“This is a new and exciting role that I believe will give us a strategic direction and identity going forward that everyone, players, coaches and supporters can believe in.

“It will take hard work and time. However, once in place, we will all enjoy the success together.”

In his first season with Salford, they only stayed in Super League due to winning the Million Pound Game, but three years later, they finished third in Super League and made it to the Grand Final.

St Helens and Salford players walk out at Old Trafford.

Credit: Imago Images

Progress will always take time, but if anyone can help bring this to Headingley, it’s probably Blease.

He continued: “Finally, help us make AMT Headingley a fortress once again.

“I know that Leeds fans want their team to play with flair but I also remember all too well from my playing days that whilst Iestyn Harris was producing some magic it came on the back of the opposition being taken on up front by the likes of Barrie McDermott, Adrian Morley and Darren Fleary.

“We will be working hard to create an identity to be proud of in the years ahead and that starts here at home.”

Leeds' Ash Handley & Cameron Scott celebrate victory over Salford in Super League at Headingley.

Credit: Imago Images

The forward pack at Leeds Rhinos has been widely criticised over the past couple of seasons, and although the likes of Ash Handley have brought some moments of magic this season, the forwards have certainly been something that stifles the ability of the side to come out the right side of a tight game.

They’ll hope, however, to come out of their game against struggling Hull FC on Saturday relatively unscathed.

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