Leeds Rhinos: 5 new head coach candidates as club expands search

Leeds Rhinos: 5 new head coach candidates as club expands search

Leeds Rhinos are still without a head coach despite many expecting them to use the international break to find a replacement for Rohan Smith.

Early favourites for the job, Paul Rowley and Brad Arthur, appear to be out of the running now, with Salford boss Rowley adamant that he will stay on to see the project he started through to completion, while Brad Arthur looks set for a big job.

According to reports from Australia, Arthur has been approached and interviewed for the head coaching role of Perth’s potential expansion side, which could take him off the Rhinos’ radar.

The Perth role would not be taken up until 2027 or later, which leaves some hope for Leeds Rhinos, who have interviewed the Australian. However, with talks winding down, we assess five possible external candidates who could take on the role.

Earlier this week, sporting director Ian Blease informed the Yorkshire Night Post that the club was active in its search with Blease working on “high-calibre candidates in the coming week”.

We took a look at who some of these men might be.

Leeds Rhinos Quiz: Can you name these former Super League players? #2

Five outsiders for the Leeds Rhinos job

Jason Demetriou

Credit: Getty Images

Former South Sydney Rabbitohs coach Jason Demetriou is among the most high-profile coaches currently out of work, having been sacked by Wakefield Trinity earlier this season.

He is expected to be replaced by Wayne Bennett, but Demetriou was a name linked with the Hull FC vacancy and, given his Super League connections, it would make sense for him to be interested in the Leeds Rhinos role.

Justin Holbrook

Credit: Imago Images

Former St Helens coach Justin Holbrook was sacked by the Gold Coast Titans in 2023, much to the shock of many fans, but he made a swift move to join Trent Robinson as an assistant coach at the Roosters. However, a big club like Leeds Rhinos could tempt him back to Super League.

What would make Holbrook’s move more difficult is the fact that he is currently the head coach of Papua New Guinea, however, that is set to change following reports that he will replace Adrian Lam as Australia’s assistant. Perhaps taking on an assistant role in the international game would mean he could balance a Super League coaching role more easily?

Justin Morgan

Credit: Imago Images

Another name that will be familiar to Super League fans is Justin Morgan, the Welsh international who would go on to manage Hull KR from 2005 to 2011, helping guide the Robins to promotion to the Super League in 2007.

Since leaving the English game, Morgan has taken on a number of assistant coaching roles, including with the New Zealand national team, Canberra Raiders, Melbourne Storm New Zealand Warriors and currently the North Queensland Cowboys. After more than a decade out of the head coaching realm, perhaps the influence of Headingley could persuade him to return.

Young Rector

Credit: Getty Images

Young is the only name on this list who did not have a Super League connection as the St George Illawarra Dragons assistant, having spent his entire career, both playing and coaching, down under. The 40-year-old spent his entire playing career with the Dragons, making over 200 appearances, before taking charge of the club’s junior side.

He would then progress to assistant in the first team and even served as interim manager during which he made the infamous comment in a press conference of “same s**t, different day” following a defeat to the Cowboys. He would then leave to join the Cowboys before returning to St George, where he remains to this day. If Leeds Rhinos want to take another chance, as they did with Rohan Smith, then Dean Young could be the man.

Ryan Carr

Credit: Imago Images

Former Featherstone Rovers boss Ryan Carr rounds off this list and is the youngest of all the candidates at just 35 years old. Coincidentally, he managed 35 games as head coach of Fev during the 2019 season, where he led the club to the Million Pound Game. The defeat to Toronto Wolfpack served as his final game, with Carr leaving to return to Australia after that.

He has since coached in the NSW Cup for the Parramatta Eels and under Leeds Rhinos coach Brad Arthur for the first team. He would take over at the St George Illawarra Dragons following the sacking of Anthony Griffin, coaching 12 games during the 2023 season.