IT IS eight years since Leeds Rhinos were last preparing to begin pre-season under a new head coach.
Due to arrive in Leeds this week, Dave Furner will be only Rhinos’ eighth permanent team boss of the Super League era, which began in 1996.
Of the previous seven, Graham Murray, Tony Smith, Brian McClennan and Brian McDermott all won silverware during their time in charge.
Rhinos’ previous pre-season under a new coach was in the autumn of 2010 when McDermott, who had expected to spend the season as assistant to McClennan, was promoted into the big job following the New Zealander’s return home.
McDermott’s first competitive game in charge typified much of his reign as Rhinos struggled for most of their opening fixture of the 2011 campaign before snatching victory with a late surge.
That year Super League kicked off with the Magic Weekend, at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium and Rhinos faced Bradford Bulls on the Sunday afternoon, February 13.
Leeds looked to be heading for defeat when Bulls – also under a new coach, Mick Potter – raced into a 28-10 lead, but 22 unanswered points turned the game on its head.
Rhinos were trailing by two points in the 78th minute when Kallum Watkins’ pass sent Ben Jones-Bishop racing clear.
He hacked on and was brought down by Bulls winger Gareth Raynor. The decision was handed on to video referee Richard Silverwood and he awarded a penalty try which won the game for Leeds.
Silverwood had earlier ruled out two possible tries for Bradford. Jones-Bishop had already scored twice for Rhinos and Ryan Hall, Kylie Leuluai and Rob Burrow got their other touchdowns, with Kevin Sinfield kicking four goals.
For Bulls, Elliott Whitehead scored a hat-trick, Patrick Ah Van grabbed a try and four goals and Matt Diskin, on his debut after moving from Leeds, also crossed.
Bradford Bulls 28
(Tries: Whitehead 3, Ah Van, Diskin. Goals: Ah Van 4)
Leeds Rhinos 32 (Tries: Jones-Bishop 2, Hall, Leuluai, Burrow, penalty. Goals: Sinfield 4)
February 13, 2011 – Super League (at Millennium Stadium, Cardiff).
Bradford Bulls: Royston, Ah Van, Platt, Walker, Raynor, Briggs, Kearney, Lynch, L’Estrange, Hargreaves, Elima, Whitehead, Langley. Subs Diskin, Scruton, Kopczak, Sibbit.
Leeds Rhinos: Webb, Jones-Bishop, Delaney, Senior, Hall, Sinfield, Burrow, Leuluai, Buderus, Cross, Jones-Buchanan, Lauitiiti, Ablett. Subs Burgess, Kirk, Pitts, Watkins.
Referee: Steve Ganson.