Ex-Leeds Rhinos assistant-coach leaves Featherstone Rovers, former Wakefield Trinity mansteps up

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Former Leeds Rhinos assistant-coach Sean Long has left Featherstone Rovers after less than a year in charge.

Long was appointed team boss last October, after ex-Leeds coach Brian McDermott left the club.

His departure today (Monday) came a day after Rovers suffered their second defeat of the Betfred Championship season, 25-22 at Halifax Panthers, but with them sitting eight points clear at the top of the table.

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The club have asked former Wakefield Trinity assistant James Ford to take over as interim-coach for the rest of the season, alongside Ian Hardman.

Sean Long has left his role as Featherstone coach. Picture by John Clifton/SWpix.com.Sean Long has left his role as Featherstone coach. Picture by John Clifton/SWpix.com.
Sean Long has left his role as Featherstone coach. Picture by John Clifton/SWpix.com.

A statement from Rovers said: “The club has invested significantly this year to ensure that we give ourselves the best possible chance of promotion to Super League in 2023.

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“The changes in rules that come into effect from 2024 make it extremely difficult to reach this goal in future years so we are committed to ensure that we leave no stone unturned in delivering this objective.

“The board have backed this ambition by investing in a playing squad of Super League quality and have been disappointed therefore in this season’s team performance against some of our promotion rivals.

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James Ford has been asked to take over as Rovers' interim-coach. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com.James Ford has been asked to take over as Rovers' interim-coach. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com.
James Ford has been asked to take over as Rovers' interim-coach. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com.

“As we reach the countdown to the play-off series, we need to ensure that we maximise the huge potential and high quality of our playing roster and we feel this change will enable us to make the required step up.”

It added: “We would like to place on record our thanks to Sean Long for his contribution to the club’s efforts this season and wish him well in the future.

“We would ask our fans to continue to support the club in their usual way just as they did in such large numbers at Halifax yesterday.

“We certainly will need their support in hopefully helping us to get over the line this year.”

Long, who spent the 2021 and 2022 seasons at Rhinos, could be set for a return to Super League as an assistant at Warrington Wolves, if ex-Great Britain star Sam Burgess gets the head job there.