THEIR concerned fans may argue otherwise, but Leeds Rhinos chief executive Gary Hetherington insists the troubled treble-winners are not in “crisis” – and says they will not being make “wholesale changes” despite their woeful form.
For all they lifted the Super League title, Challenge Cup and League Leaders Shield last term, the West Yorkshire club are struggling badly in 2016.
They were dumped out of the Challenge Cup by Huddersfield Giants on Friday and host Castleford Tigers this Thursday while sat at the bottom of the league having lost 12 of 15 games so far.
However, Hetherington has moved to assuage doubt among their faithful – so used to success over the last decade – by penning an open letter to supporters on their database. He says: “I know, like me, the players, coaching staff and indeed everyone connected with Rhinos, you are desperately disappointed to see the team out of this year’s Challenge Cup and at the foot of the Super League table.
“Unless you are a very long-standing fan this experience is something new to us all as we find ourselves in a tough position and one that is in complete contrast to this time last year. As I am sure you know, this is what can happen in professional team sport and most clubs in this situation would be in crisis with low morale, a blame culture and a frenzy to make wholesale changes throughout the organisation.
“But that’s not the case here. Don’t get me wrong, we are hurting very badly and I see it every day with the players and coaching staff at training and all our staff.
“But we know the reasons for our plight and no one could have envisaged what has happened over the past few months.
“And so I find myself surrounded not by pessimists, but by an incredibly energised and positive group of players, coaches and staff who are all working incredibly hard to achieve new and different goals.
“Our first and most immediate goal is to climb the Super League table and then make the top eight by round 23.
“The success of the last decade has been an incredible period, but the journey has not ended and the legacy of those years is a culture and environment that will allow our emerging stars to realise their potential in the years ahead.
“With that in mind, I know the boys can call upon your support for what’s going to be a tough, exciting second half of the season.”