Yesterday, Leeds Rhinos confirmed that legend and seven-time Super League Champion Jamie Jones-Buchanan would be taking on a new and exciting role.
Stepping down as assistant coach, Buchanan will take on a new role as the Rhinos first ever Head of Culture, Diversity & Inclusivity.
In an interview on the Rhinos’ YouTube channel, Buchanan has explained what this role will involve and how his emotional journey with the club has led him to this point: “The totality of the experience I’ve had from being nine years old, being educated and inspired watching Leeds, my heroes on the South Stand to playing for 22 years on the pitch and fulfilling a boyhood dream and ultimately be successful along the way despite some adversity.
“More recently been in the North Stand as an assistant coach. The totality of all that has given me a real insight into a 30-year journey which ultimately has helped me look forward into the future.
“Ultimately what we want to try and do in this new role is recreate an environment whether you’re a player, an employee of Leeds Rhinos, a fan, a stakeholder, a sponsor, a charity to have the best experience and be the best version of yourself and fulfil your potential to make sure what happens here on every Friday night at 8 o’clock on that dancefloor is positive, is inspiring, is educating and that everyone feels a part of it.”
Buchanan also revealed that current Leeds boss Rohan Smith has played a key role in establishing this new position and the culture that this role will drive.
When speaking about why this has come about, Buchanan said it comes from looking to the future and will involve speaking to Smith frequently before going on to liken Smith to one of Super League’s all-time greatest coaches in Smith’s uncle Tony: “A little bit of everything and sitting down with Rohan. In this hectic periods sometimes we’ve had a deep breath and a chance to talk about what it looks like in the future and I can’t help but make the parallel, I shouldn’t do, to his uncle Tony when he was the catalyst behind my generation of players.
“I just feel like there’s an opportunity to build a real culture and pull everyone together.”
Tony led Buchanan’s generation of Leeds players to two Super League titles at the start of the golden generation before enjoying success at Warrington and Hull KR. He is now set to join Hull FC in 2023.
It now seems Smith is set to follow in his footsteps at Leeds especially with a semi-final against Wigan around the corner.
You can watch the full interview here