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Ian Blease explains why he decided to leave Salford Red Devils for Leeds Rhinos

Ian Blease Leeds RHinos

This morning, Leeds Rhinos announced that they had swooped in and landed Ian Blease as their new Sporting Director and now the 59-year-old has revealed exactly why he has swapped Salford for Leeds.

Leeds Rhinos announced their intention to hire a Sporting Director back in May and after a short search they’ve landed on Ian Blease, the man who has brought stability to Salford Red Devils.

He’s also been responsible for the hiring of two brilliant head coaches and oversaw the transition from Ian Watson to Paul Rowley, arming both men with talents such as Jackson Hastings and Brodie Croft. Leeds Rhinos will be hoping that he can help bring such stability and then success to the Headingley club.

Speaking at a press conference this morning, Blease said: “Obviously, it’s an absolute pleasure to be here today. I’m so excited to be given this role. It’s one that I’ve admired from afar, certainly in terms of the club and the brand and for what it’s done over the last few decades on the pitch, which is what is most important for me.

“The role that I’m coming to do is all that Gary has said and I’m really looking forward to it. There are a few guys and girls here who are already embedded into this Leeds Rhinos club and I want to do that as well.

“Obviously, I embedded myself into the Salford club for many years and I’d like to thank them for everything they’ve given me and thank the fans, the backroom teams and everyone I’ve worked with, but now I’m here.”

QUIZ: Can you name these 10 former Salford players?

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Blease “excited” to start at Headingley

The 59-year-old has served at Salford since 2016 but had a long playing career in red too, however, he’s outlined his intent to get to work at Headingley and kick on with Leeds Rhinos even if he doesn’t start till next week.

He explained: “I’m so excited, I don’t officially start until next Monday so I’ll be taking a bit of time to strategise and think about what I want to do. Along with Gary’s guidance and the board, I’ll be looking at all things rugby operationally and with the Rhinos.

“I’m looking forward to it but I’ll take my time thinking about and doing things in the business. I won’t rush things and hopefully, the fans will back that and we’ll get a bounce in the next home game against Leigh next Friday.”

Asked about what appeals for him to sign at Leeds Rhinos, Blease pointed to the club’s history, arguing: “I think ever since I was a player it’s been a huge club. I’m not saying that Salford isn’t but there are levels within Super League and Leeds have always been a significant club that I’ve admired from afar.

“I think this is an exciting time to be joining such a historic and iconic club with a heritage that is known world wide.”

What will Ian Blease do at Leeds Rhinos?

Leeds Rhinos play in Super League at Headingley.

Credit: Imago Images

Outlining his role, Blease explained that he will be focused on taking Leeds Rhinos into a new era with a pure rugby focus.

He said: “From speaking to Gary and other board members, I know that my role is clear. I can come in and take over the rugby side of things which will begin with in-depth scrutiny of what is working well and what needs to happen to take us forward.

“I will then report back to the board to make those adjustments, where necessary. It is a new era for the club. I think we can both learn a lot from each other with the goal of getting the club back to where it needs to be, at top of Super League and winning trophies again.

“I am looking forward to getting to know everybody. From the outside, I have always had huge admiration for how the Rhinos and AMT Headingley operate. I have enjoyed every minute of my time as a player and administrator at Salford and it has taken one of the biggest jobs in world Rugby League for me to leave the club.”

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Whatthef

    June 10, 2024 at 1:38 pm


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