Leeds Rhinos make backroom staff appointment as they finally replace Kevin Sinfield

Leeds Rhinos have announced the appointment of former Castleford Tigers man Matt Cook, 36, as the club’s new General Manager.

Reporting to Chief Executive Gary Hetherington and Head Coach Rohan Smith, Cook will be responsible for all rugby-related matters whilst overseeing the daily operation in the Rugby Department.

This means he essentially fills the role left by Kevin Sinfield when the Leeds legend left his position as Director of Rugby to join Leicester Tigers as Defence Coach.

Not quite the same role, but it will allow Cook to take on some of the duties Sinfield had and those he does not will be taken on by Smith.

Cook joins the Rhinos after a successful period with the Rugby League World Cup where he was Operations Coordinator responsible for leading the planning, building, and delivery of the entire tournament’s welfare provision as well as leading the logistics of the Nations training logistics across the three tournaments.

A former England international, Cook has a track record at an elite level having made 290 appearances over an 18-year career and working for a global sporting event at the Rugby League World Cup 2021 (RLWC2021). A resilient team player with leadership qualities and an excellent communicator, having represented the sport at the highest levels on and off the field. He has demonstrated leadership strengths through captaincy of a Super League team, Football Operations Lead for the RLWC2021, player rep on the Rugby Football League (RFL) Player Welfare & Education Forum, and player rep on the GMB Rugby League Players Association (RLPA).

Commenting on the appointment Chief Executive Gary Hetherington said, “We are delighted to have recruited someone of the calibre of Matt Cook to join our rugby operation. He has impressed us with his work during the Rugby League World Cup and I am sure he will enhance our team working alongside Head Coach Rohan Smith and Performance Director Richard Hunwicks as we look ahead to the new season.”

As well as day to day logistics, the new role will also have a focus on RFL compliance on salary cap regulations, dual registrations, loans and contracts as well as providing information and making recommendations on the recruitment of new players.

Cook commented, “I am really excited to be joining the club, I can’t wait to get started. Having worked with the Rugby League World Cup for the last two years, working with teams and twelve national federations, I think that has put me in really good stead for my new position at the Rhinos and moving forward.

“It is nice to be back involved at club level and working in a team environment alongside a great coaching team is something that I am very much looking forward to. Having been a player, I think that has helped me to put myself into the players mindset and making sure that things are taken care of off the pitch, so they can focus on delivering on the training field every day and on the pitch each week.”

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