McDermott: Leeds won’t look overseas for new coach

Former Leeds Rhinos prop Barrie McDermott has said he doubts that the club will look beyond the British shores when recruiting a new head coach.

Richard Agar has been steering the ship at Headingley on an interim basis since David Furner was axed back in May and has turned the season around, with the Rhinos scoring over 90 points in their last two games with big wins over Huddersfield and Catalans.

Despite his success, though, Agar has frequently played down any interest in the permanent role, with Leeds keen on appointing someone before the start of next season.

McDemott, however, believes that while there will be candidates interested in the role from overseas, the best options will be on home turf.

Leeds’ interim head coach Richard Agar has turned their season around.

“Agar has played it perfectly I think,” McDermott told Sky Sports. “He’s taken the pressure away from the players, almost making them not focus on the bloke in charge, and he’s put the focus on the players getting the best version of themselves.

“I’m not sure if he wants the job, and he’s said a number of times that his main focus is getting these players just playing to their maximum potential.

“I don’t think Leeds Rhinos will look overseas – I think they’ve had their fingers burned. Dave Furner started the season and was an ex-player, and assistant coach of some repute but he didn’t quite get it right.

“Agar has steadied the ship, but I think (Director of Rugby) Kevin Sinfield and (chief executive) Gary Hetherington will get to the end of the year, look at who’s available, and work out who’s the best candidate for the job.

“I suspect that Richard Agar will be part of that staff, whether he’s the man in charge or not.”

One man rumoured to be in the frame for the job in London Broncos coach Danny Ward, who has defied all odds to give his side a fighting chance of staying in Super League this season.

Danny Ward is reportedly being lined up for the head coaches job at Leeds next season.

Aside from them being former teammates, McDermott rates Ward very highly as a coach and believes his heroics this year should be rewarded: “Danny Ward, for me, is the coach of the year, unless the St Helens coach Justin Holbrook wins all three trophies available to him.

“If he wins the Challenge Cup final and the Grand final, then you’d have to give it to him, but if he doesn’t, then certainly Danny Ward is in with a shout as he’s done remarkably well.

“They only came up after upsetting the apple cart by going to Toronto Wolfpack and getting a win. Many people said they’d do well to get one win, but they’ve had a bolt load.”