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Former Super League referee names 3 coaches Leeds Rhinos should consider to replace Rohan Smith

Leeds Rhinos Rohan Smith Richard Silverwood

Leeds Rhinos had suffered a stuttering start to the Super League season, however, until last weekend’s game against Hull FC they had remained in contention for the top six in Super League. Their 18-10 defeat at the MKM Stadium represented the definitive switch to crisis mode for the West Yorkshire club.

Head Coach, Rohan Smith, had faced some questions around his future prior to the game. But the result, and equally importantly, the performance in defeat against Hull significantly intensified the pressure on the under-fire Rhinos boss. The club confirmed Smith had left his role as Leeds Head Coach earlier today.

The Rhinos face a crucial clash with Leigh Leopards on Friday night, in an occasion which will be used to mark the memory of Rob Burrow, and is the first time that Leeds have played at Headingley since his passing.

Victory for the Leopards would bring them within one point of the Rhinos after a significant uptick in form has seen them close the gap on the play-offs. Now, in the build-up to the game, a former Super League referee has offered their take on who the Rhinos should consider, now that they have moved to replace Rohan Smith.

Former Super League referee names three candidates for Leeds Rhinos job

Paul Rowley Leeds Rhinos

Credit: Imago Images

New Leeds Sporting Director, Ian Blease, officially started work in his new role on Monday and he moved quickly to resolve Smith’s future, as the club look to re-establish themselves as a force in Super League.

Speaking before the news of Smith’s departure was announced, Silverwood named his three candidates to replace Smith at Leeds. He believes Paul Rowley, Justin Holbrook and Brad Arthur should all be in the running for the job, now that Smith has left his role at the club. Silverwood stated:

“Crikey, what has [sp] Barratt, Ryles or Demetriou done to lead a great club like Leeds? Would be no better than current coach. Has to be Rowley, Holbrook or Arthur for me. I can’t see Leeds changing until end of season.”

Paul Rowley, currently head coach of Salford, has been linked with Leeds recently – especially due to Ian Blease’s move to the club, and their previous work together.

Justin Holbrook, meanwhile, is an assistant coach for Sydney Roosters, and hasn’t held the role of head coach for a club since mid-way through the 2023 season, when he was suddenly dismissed by Gold Coast Titans.

He was close to joining Warrington before Sam Burgess took over, so he does seem to be open to a Super League return after a successful spell with St Helens.

Meanwhile, Brad Arthur is out of a job after leaving Parramatta Eels last month after over a decade with the club. He joined when the club were towards the bottom of the table most seasons, and did eventually get them as far as the semi-final stage or further in five of six seasons between 2017 and 2022.

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