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“If I see him…” – Paul Rowley’s response to possible Ian Blease contact over Leeds Rhinos job

Paul Rowley Leeds Rhinos

Since Leeds Rhinos hired Salford’s Sporting Director Ian Blease, the questions have been asked of Paul Rowley if he will be following suit and moving to the Headingley club. He’s now once again outlined his stance on the matter.

Ian Blease was confirmed as Leeds Rhinos’ Sporting Director just over a fortnight ago meaning that it’s been a fortnight of speculation surrounding Paul Rowley too, something that heightened even more after the dismissal of Rhinos head coach Rohan Smith on Wednesday.

Smith and the club parted ways after two years of the Australian being in charge, taking over in 2022 and guiding the club to a Grand Final before a lacklustre 2023 and an up-and-down 2024 campaign.

Despite Smith’s dismissal, the club were actually just outside the playoffs meaning the season is still incredibly salvageable hence the club’s necessity to find a new head coach sooner rather than later. Paul Rowley has expressed that it will now be him though as he has once again batted back talk of departing Salford.

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Rowley knocks back Leeds Rhinos talk

Salford Red Devils coach Paul Rowley speaks to Sky Sports pundit and former Leeds Rhinos player Jamie Jones-Buchanan

Credit: Imago Images

The Salford boss appeared on The Bench Podcast with Jenna and Jon this past week where he answered a variety of questions, including the obvious ones about whether he would make the switch to Leeds Rhinos.

To that, Paul Rowley said: “It’s a hypothetical question, Jenna, because you could ask me that about any club in the country, so I’ve had no contact with Leeds Rhinos.”

Asked specifically if he had spoken to Ian Blease about the chances of switching to Headingley, Rowley stated: “I’d speak to Ian Blease if I see him in the pub and he says ‘go get me a pint’ or something.”

That wasn’t enough for hosts Jon Wilkin and Jenna Brooks who asked one last time, leading Paul Rowley to explain that zero contact had been made.

“‘No, absolutely nothing and to be fair, they’ve got a big week ahead haven’t they, for all the reasons we already know, so I’m not going to go into that. I’ve got a big week as well.”

What makes Paul Rowley such a good head coach?

Salford Red Devils head coach Paul Rowley

Credit: Imago Images

Paul Rowley has taken this current Salford side that lost players such as Brodie Croft, Andy Ackers, Ken Sio and Joe Burgess in the off-season and guided them to fifth in Super League.

The club have just defeated St Helens to do the double over them for the first time since 1980 but Rowley has explained in simple terms what keeps him going, highlighting his humble nature.

He explained: “I’m a man that’s played rugby like Jon to play the game and nothing replaces that but coaching got me to a point where I didn’t have to leave the game, so it’s second to playing.

“However, I get more joy out of their success than my success. I genuinely mean that and that’s what just makes it good. It’s rewarding, it’s fulfilling, and I think as long as it’s fulfilling then you’re inspired and you want to work harder for them.

“I think we’ve got that throughout the group and you said it would be a hard team to leave. Well, keep to the facts. The facts are absolutely, whatever the situation, that I absolutely love that team and love the fans.”

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