Wigan Warriors CEO Evaluates Leeds Rhinos’ Appointment of Ian Blease

Wigan Warriors CEO Kris Radlinski Weighs In on Leeds Rhinos’ Appointment of Ian Blease as Sporting Director

Wigan Warriors Chief Executive Kris Radlinski, renowned for orchestrating much of the club’s recent success, has shared his thoughts on Leeds Rhinos’ appointment of Ian Blease as their new Sporting Director. The move is part of an off-field restructuring process at Headingley, as Leeds aim to emulate Wigan’s winning formula.

Radlinski, who has served as Wigan’s Executive Director for nine years before taking on the CEO role in January 2023, believes the appointment could provide a boost to the Leeds squad. “I think Paul Rowley is capable enough to deal with that loss. I think it will boost the Leeds team because they’ve got a new guy coming in and probably he’s looking at things and be in a period of review over the first few weeks. So I do expect them to kick on a little bit,” Radlinski said during an interview on The Sportsman’s ‘Last Tackle’ show.

Eddie Hemmings Weighs In

Eddie Hemmings, Radlinski’s co-host, also weighed in on the move, noting Blease’s success at Salford Red Devils, where he helped the club reach a Grand Final and Challenge Cup Finals while also generating significant transfer revenue.

“Ian Blease must have done something good at Salford because they’ve got to a Grand Final and they’ve got to Challenge Cup Finals. He’s made them a lot of money on the transfer market. So it’s a good appointment for the Rhinos, I think,” Hemmings said.

The upcoming Super League clash between Leeds Rhinos and Hull FC this weekend will be the first under Blease’s tenure, and Hemmings believes it presents an opportunity for both teams to make a statement.

“I think Ian Blease said, didn’t he, he wants the Leeds supporters to start getting behind the team again, beginning with Hull this weekend. Hull have been desperate, haven’t they, in 2024? Absolutely desperate. It’s a big game, I think, for both clubs. I think it’s a chance for Hull to make a statement that they’re not as bad as people think they are, and it’s a chance for Leeds to say ‘Well look, we’re going to go okay’ and they will be hoping for top six finish at the very least.”

A loss for Leeds Rhinos could spell trouble for head coach Rohan Smith, who has been under pressure lately. The match will also be closely watched by the newly appointed Blease, as he looks to guide the Rhinos back to the top of the Super League.

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