Leeds Rhinos have announced the appointment of David Furner as their new head coach from next season on a three-year contract.
The current South Sydney Rabbitohs assistant will rejoin the club that he spent two years with as a player, helping them to Super League Grand Final victory in 2004.
Furner spent five years as head coach at the Canberra Raiders, and has also been an assistant coach at a number of other sides.
Kevin Sinfield will remain as director of rugby, but Furner will be a more defined head coach while James Lowes takes on another role in the backroom staff.
Furner said: “First of all, it is fantastic to be heading back to a club where I have so many fantastic memories from my playing days.
“I would like to say thank you to the Board of Directors, [chief executive] Gary Hetherington and Kevin Sinfield for offering me this opportunity and I am looking forward to helping the club progress in the future.
“I know that Kevin and the team are working hard to get through the Qualifiers at present and I have every confidence they will do that with the backing of the fantastic fans at the Rhinos.”
Leeds’ Super League status is far from secure after defeat to Hull KR last weekend, as the 2017 Super League champions grapple with the Qualifiers for the second time in three seasons.
A seven-match losing run earlier this season brought an end to the reign of Brian McDermott, who had been the longest-serving coach in Super League after more than seven years at Emerald Headingley.
At the time, Hetherington said that the appointments of Sinfield and Lowes were to “address the short term problem for the rest of the season and also ideally strengthen our structure for the future.”
Sinfield has given Furner his backing, commenting on his “outstanding coaching record”.
“He is someone who has always remained a friend of the club since he left here and it fantastic to have him back on board for next season,” he added.
“As well as focusing on our current position, there is a great deal of work going on behind the scenes to make sure we build for the future and the signing of Dave Furner is a massive indication of that vision.”