Rugby League Legend’s Pick for Leeds Rhinos Coaching Job Successor

Rugby League Legend Backs Top Candidates for Leeds Rhinos Coaching Job

The search is on for a new Leeds Rhinos head coach after the departure of Rohan Smith, and former Rhinos player Barrie McDermott has tipped three standout candidates to take over the reins at Headingley.

Smith left the eight-time Super League champions by mutual consent on Wednesday, with his tenure lasting just over two years. Ex-Rhinos prop McDermott, who helped the club to their first league title in 32 years in 2004, believes the criticism aimed at Smith towards the end of his reign went too far.

“It wasn’t a case of if – it was when – and I feel sorry for Rohan in many ways because it’s not gone the way he wanted to,” said the Sky Sports pundit. “He wanted to play the game a certain way and, when it clicked and everyone was on the same page, it was a really innovative style.”

As Leeds’ chief executive Gary Hetherington and sporting director Ian Blease consider their options, McDermott has identified three potential successors to Smith: Salford Red Devils boss Paul Rowley, Parramatta Eels head coach Brad Arthur, and Wests Tigers assistant Jason Demetriou.

“For me it’s got to be one of those three and I think Paul Rowley would be my number-one pick because he would be a good fit straight away,” McDermott explained. “He would suit Leeds down to the ground with the way that he plays the game. Leeds want success but the Headingley faithful demand to be entertained as well.”

Former Rhinos star Danny McGuire has also been tipped as a future Leeds head coach, but McDermott believes it’s too early for the ex-player to take on the top job. Instead, he has suggested McGuire and fellow former Rhinos player Danny Ward could join the coaching staff in assistant roles.

As Leeds begin their search for a new head coach, the focus will be on finding the right candidate to revive the club’s fortunes and recapture the success they enjoyed under McDermott’s playing days.

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