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Wigan Warriors Chief has say on Leeds Rhinos’ appointment of Ian Blease

Ian Blease

Wigan Warriors Chief Executive Kris Radlinski, the man behind much of the current success at the club, has reacted to Leeds Rhinos’ appointment of Ian Blease as Sporting Director.

In May, Leeds Rhinos announced that they would undergo a process of off-field restructuring that would see a Sporting Director appointed and it was confirmed this week that Ian Blease was the man for the job. The former Salford Red Devils man was announced at a presser on Monday.

He will be tasked with overseeing rugby operations at Headingley, much like Kris Radlinski does at Wigan Warriors, and Radlinski has now had his say on the appointment as someone who holds plenty of experience on what it takes to be successful in running a Super League team.

The 48-year-old Radlinski was Executive Director at the club for nine years before ascending to CEO in January 2023 and since then Wigan Warriors have won every single trophy that is on offer whilst also doing some shrewd business such as the signings of Tyler Dupree, Luke Thompson, Kruise Leeming and Adam Keighran to name just a few.

Quiz: Can you name all these ex-Leeds Rhinos players?

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Leeds Rhinos tipped to kick on after Ian Blease appointment

Ian Blease, new Leeds Rhinos sporting director, at Salford Red Devils stadium

Credit: Imago Images

Speaking on The Sportsman’s Youtube channel as part of their ‘Last Tackle’ show, Radlinski said: “I think Paul Rowley is capable enough to deal with that loss. I think it will boost the Leeds team because they’ve got a new guy coming in and probably he’s looking at things and be in a period of review over the first few weeks. So I do expect them to kick on a little bit.”

He was flanked by Eddie Hemmings who also had plenty to say on the appointment, noting: “Ian Blease must have done something good at Salford because they’ve got to a Grand Final and they’ve got to Challenge Cup Finals. He’s made them a lot of money on the transfer market. So it’s a good appointment for the Rhinos, I think.”

Hemmings continued, referencing the upcoming game for Leeds Rhinos against Hull FC, the first under the tenure of Ian Blease. Leeds travel to the MKM Stadium on Saturday in a game that both teams are desperate for two points from and Hemmings echoed the call of Blease.

He said: “I think Ian Blease said, didn’t he, he wants the Leeds supporters to start getting behind the team again, beginning with Hull this weekend. Hull have been desperate, haven’t they, in 2024? Absolutely desperate.

“It’s a big game, I think, for both clubs. I think it’s a chance for Hull to make a statement that they’re not as bad as people think they are, and it’s a chance for Leeds to say ‘Well look, we’re going to go okay’ and they will be hoping for top six finish at the very least.”

A loss for Leeds Rhinos could spell huge trouble for Rohan Smith who has been under pressure lately and will now be under the watchful eye of the newly appointed Ian Blease, whilst Hull FC are just desperate for a win to distance themselves from the bottom of Super League.

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