Earlier today, it was announced that Brian McDermott had been sacked as Head Coach of the Leeds Rhinos after eight years at the helm.
During his time in charge, the 48-year old won a World Club Challenge, four Super League titles, two Challenge Cups and a League Leaders Shield.
However, not even the most decorated and esteemed managers are safe forever and after Wigan inflicted a club-record seventh consecutive defeat on the Rhinos last Thursday, time was halted on McDermott’s Headingley stay.
The Leeds job is sure to be attracting a lot of interest, given the high-profile nature of the club and the possible funds that could be made available for any new coach. With that being said, here is a list of five coaches who could take over as Leeds Rhinos head coach.
5. Paul Anderson
Paul Anderson may well be an outside choice to take over at the Rhinos, but the current England assistant coach should not be overlooked all that quickly.
He was the head coach of the Huddersfield Giants between 2013-16 and helped achieve their first piece of silverware in 80 years, securing the 2013 League Leaders Shield in his first year in charge.
The 46-year old’s 65% win record at the Giants is not to be sniffed at and would’ve been far higher, but for a poor start to the 2016 season which saw the Giants win just 4 of their opening 18 games.
Huddersfield cut ties with Anderson in 2016, but maybe now is the right time for him to make a move back into club management. He may well be able to retain his role in the England setup alongside any new club position, so would Anderson want to take over the reigns at Leeds, a club he remembers fondly from his playing days?
4. Denis Betts
Like McDermott, Denis Betts also became an addition to the managerial casualty ward after eight years in his previous job, at the Widnes Vikings.
During his time at the club, he may not have always had the greatest relationship with the fans but Betts was extremely good at bringing young players through the Vikings system and developing them into first-team stars.
When you look at the Widnes team, the likes of Matt Whitley, Tom Gilmore, Jay Chapelhow, Danny Walker and Owen Farnworth may not have had the chance to shine, had it not been for the faith shown in them by Betts and his coaching team.
The Rhinos have a good crop of young players coming through, which is much needed following the departure of many of their senior players over the last year or two.
Maybe someone like Betts could be exactly what Leeds need if they want their talented crop of youngsters, including Jack Walker, Ashton Golding, Mikolaj Oldezki and Ash Handley, to take their careers to the next level under a coach who clearly values youth.
3. Stephen Kearney
If the Rhinos want to look further afield, maybe appointing someone with international managerial pedigree and bags of NRL experience may be the way to go.
Kearney guided New Zealand’s national team to success in the 2008 World Cup and 2011 Four Nations. It is clear that he is a well-respected and highly successful coach; however, a move to the Rhinos all depends on whether he is willing to give up his head coach role at the New Zealand Warriors in the country he was born in and clearly has a great affiliation with.
Make no mistake; Kearney coming to the UK would be a huge coup for the Rhinos, and may even encourage a high calibre of player to follow in the 46-year old’s footsteps and test themselves in Super League.
Many players would chomp at the bit to spend time under the guidance of Kearney. With New Zealand Warriors flying high in fifth in the NRL ladder, the New-Zealander may not want to depart just yet, but if the Warriors fail to stay in the highly-contested top eight by the end of the season, could Kearney seek a new challenge in 2019 and beyond?
2. David Furner
David Furner is currently the joint-favourite to take over at the Rhinos, according to Sky Bet, and it is clear to see why.
Furner is obviously an extremely talented man; he is currently South Sydney Rabbitohs’ assistant coach and has also spent four years as the head coach of the Canberra Raiders, with whom he played over 200 games for.
Many Super League sides have looked at NRL assistants when recruiting and quite often have come up trumps- just look at Steve Price and Justin Holbrook as examples. Leeds could well be looking at doing the same as their rivals, given the success of Warrington and St Helens since their respective coaches came in.
Furner is well-known to the Rhinos faithful and was a fans favourite during his time spent at the club between 2003-04. With the head coach role at his former club up for grabs and Furner possible looking for a club of his own to coach, maybe it is meant to be for the Australian.
1. Daryl Powell
Ever since news of McDermott’s departure broke, one name has been on the lips of many Rhinos fans- Daryl Powell.
Like many others on the list, Powell spent a large chunk of time at the Rhinos during his playing days and has since gone on to forge a reputation as one of the best English coaches of this generation.
Given the resources and budgets that he has had to work with during the past few seasons at both Castleford and Featherstone, the 52-year old has done astonishingly well to create two very exciting, determined, successful teams.
It would be an interesting move if Powell was to leave the Tigers, who are challenging for a spot in the top four, in favour of the Rhinos, who are desperately close to finding themselves in the Qualifiers for the second time in three years.
Powell started his coaching career at the Rhinos before the appointment of Tony Smith in 2003. Leeds fans crave the kind of flamboyant, edge of the seat rugby that Powell has forged his reputation on. I expected that Leeds would very much do everything in their power to bring Powell back to the place where it all started.
Should Daryl Powell be the next Leeds manager or will the Rhinos look further afield at someone like David Furner or Stephen Kearney? Let us know in the comments and don’t forget to like our Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more Rugby League content!
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