Leeds Rhinos chief Gary Hetherington won’t be drawn on coaching situation

LEEDS RHINOS chief executive Gary Hetherington is refusing to be drawn on the club’s coaching situation, despite admitting to “a lot of interest” from potential candidates.

Tuesday, 27th August 2019, 6:00 am
Leeds Rhinos chief executive Gary Hetherington.

Rhinos have won six of their 12 Betfred Super League fixtures since Richard Agar was appointed interim-coach following Dave Furner’s sacking in May.

A victory at bottom club London Broncos on Sunday would effectively end Leeds’ relegation fears, but there is still no indication as to whether Agar will remain in the post next year, or if the club will bring in a full-time replacement.

“That always has been and will continue to be a decision and an announcement for the end of the season,” Hetherington insisted.

Richard Agar.

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“It is no different to what we said three or four months ago; the focus and the object was to create stability and improve performances if possible.

“At the time I think we were bottom of the table so we had a real challenge for this season and that is where all the focus has been.

“Clearly there has been quite a bit of work behind the scenes, there has been a lot of interest shown in the job from different candidates and all that has been handled by Kevin [Sinfield, Rhinos’ director of rugby] and will continue to be.

“The end of the season will be the time to outline exactly what the arrangements are going to be and what the timescale and process will be as well.”

Leeds Rhinos' director of rugby Kevin Sinfield.

Hetherington described Rhinos’ rugby operation now as a “much more focused, much better environment at this moment in time than at any other time of the season” and added: “It has been a progressive improvement.

“We are a very strong and healthy organisation at this moment in time, but that’s not to say everything is fine and dandy. Clearly we will be reviewing this season, like we do every season and Kevin will be responsible for making whatever changes he sees fit going forward.”

Though Rhinos are only two points above bottom club London and still not safe, Hetherington reckons they are in a strong position to avoid the drop.

Their superior points difference means they would have to lose all three of their remaining fixtures and the four teams below them win at least twice for Leeds to be relegated.

“We have turned things around internally,” Hetherington said. “That’s great credit to Kevin and Richard and all the staff - Ryan Carr has come in and made a very good contribution as well.

“It’s also credit to the players themselves, they have certainly turned things around significantly from where they were so there is now a confidence in the group and a belief and an understanding as to what we are striving to achieve and how we are trying to play.

“That has been evident in a lot of our performances and I was privately hoping we could finish the season challenging for one of the play-offs spots.

“That is now not possible due to us not beating St Helens and Hull, which were significant losses for us and the continued good form of such as Salford.

“But it is just as important for us to finish the season in a strong position. With three games to go we have got a real enthusiasm and determination within the group to finish as good as we can.”