Leeds Rhinos: Top jobs on the line warns chief exec’

Leeds Rhinos chief executive Gary Hetherington.
Leeds Rhinos chief executive Gary Hetherington.
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LEEDS RHINOS coach Brian McDermott and other senior figures could have a month to save their jobs.

That is the implication of an email to fans on the club’s database from chief executive Gary Hetherington.

Leeds Rhinos head coach Brian McDermott.

Leeds Rhinos head coach Brian McDermott.

He says the club will be in a “much better position to make an accurate judgement” on the performance of all our players, coaching staff and senior management including myself” after the next four games.

Hetherington was responding to a “record” number of emails following last Thursday’s 66-10 defeat at Castleford Tigers.

He reinforced his claim – made to the Yorkshire Evening Post last week – that there will be no “knee-jerk” reaction.

But for the first time the chief executive has hinted changes could be on the cards.

Leeds Rhinos players walked away from defeat to Castleford with heads bowed.

Leeds Rhinos players walked away from defeat to Castleford with heads bowed.

The full text of Hetherington’s letter is:

“I’ve had a record number of emails following last week’s game at Castleford and since they all follow a similar theme I’m writing to share my thoughts with all our fans rather than replying separately to each correspondence.

“Our performance at Castleford was very poor from start to finish. Our opponents were just the opposite! They were exceptional on the night.

“The result was significant. Our heaviest defeat for over 20 years. This raises two questions. Firstly, how would we have fared if our team had included Rob Burrow, Keith Galloway, Mitch Garbutt, Jamie Jones-Buchanan, Carl Ablett, Brett Ferres and Stevie Ward? And secondly was this one of those ‘one off’ results which occasionally occur in Super League?

“Last season for example Wigan conceded over 60 points at Wakefield Trinity, but recovered and went on to win the title!

“These are the type of judgement calls that have to be made by senior management in all sports organisations all of the time and results like the one last week heighten the need to scrutinise.

“We found ourselves in this position last season and at the time, we were in no doubt our best policy was no change because we believed the team would show its true colours once the group of senior players returned from injury. We made a judgement call which I believe was the right one but we are not stubborn enough to believe no change is always the best option. But equally we don’t make knee jerk decisions and any actions have to be carefully thought out with the only consideration of ‘what’s in the best interests of the club now and in the future’.

“With regard to our playing squad we are in a period of transition and the team that played at Castleford included six young players who have fairly recently graduated from our Academy and they are all learning and playing in a high-pressure environment.

“This month is an important one with games against Catalans Dragons, Wakefield Trinity, Huddersfield Giants and Wigan Warriors and at its end we will be in a much better position to make an accurate judgement on the performance of all our players, coaching staff and senior management including myself.

“In the meantime, let this be a time when we all continue to give as much vocal support as possible to the team who I know are desperately disappointed and determined to respond in the best possible way.

“Very best wishes

Gary Hetherington

Chief Executive”

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