Brad Arthur's first words as Leeds Rhinos explain coach's appointment

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Leeds Rhinos have appointed Australian Brad Arthur as head-coach until the end of this season.

The 50-year-old is en-route to England and could attend tomorrow’s (Thursday) game at Warrington Wolves. He will work alongside current assistant-coaches Chev Walker and Scott Grix who have been in interim-charge for the past two games, since Rohan Smith stepped down last month.

Arthur spent 10 seasons in charge at NRL side Parramatta Eels, coaching them for 264 games, including the 2022 Grand Final, before being sacked in May. Rhinos’ sporting director Ian Blease confirmed: “We are delighted to have secured the services of a highly experienced coach in Brad Arthur for the remainder of this season.

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“Having a vacancy at this time of year has its own challenges with some of our other options committed to their current clubs. Brad is keen to get started and is heading to England now.

New head-coach Brad Arthur could be at Leeds Rhinos' game away to Warrington Wolves on Thursday. Picture by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images.New head-coach Brad Arthur could be at Leeds Rhinos' game away to Warrington Wolves on Thursday. Picture by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images.
New head-coach Brad Arthur could be at Leeds Rhinos' game away to Warrington Wolves on Thursday. Picture by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images.

“He hopes to be at Thursday’s game against Warrington Wolves to get his first look at the team. We have seen at times this year the potential for this squad and Brad’s challenge will be to get more consistency from this group.”

Arthur is expected to become head-coach of the new Perth club which is set to join the NRL in 2026, but Blease said Arthur staying on beyond this year is “still an option”. Salford Red Devils’ Paul Rowley is understood to be another potential target.

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“I have always said we would not rush into long term-decisions, for the good of the club,” Blease added. “We recently announced new contracts for 15 of our brightest young stars and Brad’s appointment gives us the opportunity to focus on the current season while I can continue to build our long term vision.”

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New Leeds Rhinos coach Brad Arthur, left, during a Parramatta Eels NRL training session at Kellyville Park, Sydney, on April 23, 2024. Picture by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images.New Leeds Rhinos coach Brad Arthur, left, during a Parramatta Eels NRL training session at Kellyville Park, Sydney, on April 23, 2024. Picture by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images.
New Leeds Rhinos coach Brad Arthur, left, during a Parramatta Eels NRL training session at Kellyville Park, Sydney, on April 23, 2024. Picture by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images.

Rhinos go into Betfred Super League round 17 - of 27 - sitting seventh in the table, two points outside the play-offs. Commenting for the first time since his appointment, Arthur said: “I am pleased to be joining the Rhinos and can’t wait to get started.

“For me personally, this is a unique opportunity to grow as a coach. I join the club aiming to help raise standards and expectations without disrupting the cohesion that is within the group already.

“Clearly the club want a change of direction, otherwise this opportunity would not have become available. However, we have to realise the Rhinos place a heap of importance on this season, not just the future plans.

“There is a lot of footy still to be played in 2024 and the chance to challenge for the play-offs, especially with the talent we have within our squad. As well as making the most of that opportunity, the work we are all able to do over the next four months will help set the standards for the future and whatever lies ahead of myself and the club.”

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Leeds Rhinos' sporting director Ian Blease. Picture by James Hardisty.Leeds Rhinos' sporting director Ian Blease. Picture by James Hardisty.
Leeds Rhinos' sporting director Ian Blease. Picture by James Hardisty.

He stressed: “I can understand it is an unusual situation, but I think it is a fantastic opportunity for everyone - myself, the other coaches and the players - and a good fit for everyone. I am looking forward to getting over and being at the game on Thursday night to see the boys take on Warrington.”

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