New Leeds Rhinos Sporting Director Plans Squad Improvements

New Leeds Rhinos Sporting Director Eyeing Squad Improvements, But Unsure of Immediate Moves

Ian Blease, the newly appointed Sporting Director of Leeds Rhinos, has revealed plans to bolster the club’s squad, though he remains uncertain about any immediate transfer activity until he officially begins his new role next Monday.

Blease, who was previously the Director of Rugby at Salford Red Devils, has been brought in to oversee all on-field operations for the Rhinos, including the development of the men’s first-team roster at Headingley.

Despite not yet assuming his position, the 59-year-old is already formulating his vision for player recruitment and retention in the short, medium and long term. “There will be a few improvements made, no doubt,” Blease stated. “I never stop. I was just doing a bit (of business) this morning actually.”

However, the incoming Sporting Director acknowledged the challenges faced by head coach Rohan Smith in assembling a consistent starting lineup this season due to a spate of injuries. “To be fair, he’s had a few injuries this year without making excuses for anybody. I’m not sure how many times he’s had a full squad to pick from this year,” Blease said.

While Blease identified some “key players out there that would be nice to have a look at,” he remained coy on the possibility of immediate transfer activity, stating, “I don’t know the details yet. I told Gary (Hetherington) last week not to share any details with me because we were still competitors.”

The move from Salford to Leeds represents a significant shift in budgetary approach for Blease, who acknowledged the challenge of adapting his mindset. “It’ll be a challenge, there’s a bit of apprehension there because I’ve been used to ‘what can I get offered for a deal’, so that’s a change in mindset. But I’ve managed significant budgets in my business career and I’m okay with that but I’m more focussed on getting the right people at this club.”

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