Leeds Rhinos: Why Gary Hetherington is heading to Australia in new coach search

LEEDS RHINOS will not be rushed into filling their coaching vacancy, chief executive Gary Hetherington insists.

Rhinos are third from bottom in Betfred Super League with almost a quarter of the season gone, but Hetherington says his priority is to find the right man for the job, rather than make a quick appointment.

Hetherington will fly to Sydney this weekend to conduct interviews with candidates, leaving Jamie Jones-Buchanan as interim-coach for Friday’s visit of champions St Helens.

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Previous boss Richard Agar resigned nine days ago and Hetherington has been “impressed but not surprised” by the calibre of coaches expressing an interest.

HEADING OFF: Leeds Rhinos Chief Executive Gary Hetherington Picture: James Hardisty

Leeds Rhinos is a top job,” he said. “The most important aspect of this process is identifying the candidate who best suits what we are looking for, so other issues may well be secondary.

“I had no plans to go to Australia this year and that is the only reason I am going. It is all part of the exhaustive process to make sure no stone is left unturned.”

Despite his trip Down Under, Hetherington stressed all options are still on the table.

He said: “There is interest from coaches overseas. That’s why I am making a short visit to Australia, but there’s also interest from quality coaches in England.

LINKED: Hull KR coach Tony Smith (right) is seen as a potential successor to Richard Agar, returning to Headingley after coaching there between 2004-07. Picture: Will Palmer/SWpix.com

“This is a crucial appointment and the exhaustive process means meeting and interviewing people, rather than taking other’s recommendations.”

Ex-London Broncos boss Danny Ward, Ryan Carr – the former Featherstone Rovers chief and assistant to Richard Agar at Leeds in 2019 – and Hull KR’s Tony Smith, who was in charge when Leeds won the Grand Final in 2004 and 2007, are among those linked with the vacancy.