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Ian Blease reveals if Leeds Rhinos will look overseas or consider ‘interim coach’ as new boss

Leeds Rhinos

The search for a new Leeds Rhinos head coach began in earnest today, following the departure of Rohan Smith from the club. Smith leaves Leeds with the club struggling to keep pace with the Super League playoff places, having slumped to defeat against Hull FC in his final game in charge.

Leeds Rhinos have gone through a succession of head coaches since Brian McDermott left in 2018, including the liked of Kevin Sinfield, on an interim basis, Richard Agar and David Furner. Whilst Agar did achieve some short-term success with the Rhinos, no one has been able to maintain a consistent challenge for silverware since the club’s last Grand Final win in 2017.

Now, the Rhinos will begin for a new head coach, with the club confirming that new Sporting Director, Ian Blease, will lead the search for Smith’s successor. Paul Rowley has been linked with the role, but a number of names in Australia have also been mentioned, including Brad Arthur and Justin Holbrook.

Now Blease has offered his take on whether Leeds will look overseas for their new coach. He has also discussed the possibility of making an interim appointment.

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Leeds Rhinos will consider interim coach

Leeds Rhinos Sporting Director Ian Blease in Salford Red Devils gear

Credit: Imago Images

Speaking in a club press conference, Blease confirmed that the Rhinos would consider a coach from Australia, as they look for the right person to replace Smith. When asked it he would consider an appointment from overseas, Blease stated:

“Yes, absolutely. I think that’s one area that I’m keen to explore, yeah.”

Asked whether the Rhinos would be consider bringing an interim candidate if their first choice is not available immediately, Blease confirmed it was something the club would be open to. His number one focus is on improving results on the field, and he will do what is required of him to achieve that goal.

“Yeah, I think I said that”, Rowley said.

“That’s a consideration that I’ll come and get to that stage, I’ll judge it. It’s on the table.”

He added, “We need to move up the table, and if that means we need to bring in coaching quickly or in the interim, I might look at that. But all I think is we’re open at the moment.”

Hetherington outlines qualities coach should have

Leeds Rhinos

Credit Imago Images

Speaking alongside Blease, Leeds’ Chief Executive, outlined the qualities he believed that a new Leeds coach needed. He believes the club need to find an experienced candidate who is able to handle the pressure which comes with coaching a club the size of the Rhinos.

“Clearly, the person has got to be a head coach but there’s so many more qualities required for one to be successful.

“And especially to a club like Leeds, there’s a high expectation, as indeed there are at other clubs as well. So it’s a person with special qualities and an ideal experience of having done the job.” Hetherington said.

He also confirmed there was no fixed timescale for an appointment, as it was important that Leeds got the right candidate. He added:

“I’ve no doubt that there will be quite a bit of interest in the job. It’s a job that many people aspire to and so we’d like him to do so. There’s no time scale on when that will need to be completed by.”

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