Written by Zack Wilson
Photo by Photo REX Features
So David Furner’s short reign as coach of Leeds Rhinos has come to an end, with the Australian being dismissed from his job on Monday.
Furner himself is extremely unhappy about the situation, and has reportedly decided to take legal action against the club.
But the Rhinos have won only four of their 14 games so far in 2019, and that kind of record is not likely to induce patience in the club’s hierarchy, especially given the funds spent on recruitment in the off season.
His reign is the joint-shortest in the club’s history, with Malcolm Clift, who was sacked in 1985, being in charge for a similar amount of time.
Richard Agar will now be in interim charge of the team, taking charge for this weekend’s derby day Challenge Cup clash with Bradford Bulls.
One man who could do a job at Leeds, and is probably just the right kind of person the club needs now, is former Wigan Warriors gaffer Shaun Wane.
Although not exactly considered a cult hero by Leeds supporters, Wane offers a number of things that would be valuable at Headingley right now.
His ability to build strong team spirit is certainly one attribute which would come in handy at Leeds right now.
To see the way the Wigan players celebrated success alongside their head coach, especially in his final season at the DW Stadium, provided ample testimony to that.
Whoever comes in, though, they must be given time to rebuild the club from within, something that could take a few years.
One senses that complacency set in at Headingley at some stage over the last five years, with the treble-winning season of 2015 seeming something of a watershed.
Despite the 2017 Grand Final win, Leeds have spent most of the last four years involved in relegation battles.
Young players have broken into the first team, but then seemed to plateau in their development, their potential frustrated.
Given his track record for developing players at Wigan, Shaun Wane might well be able to do something about that.
He certainly has the personality to go into the club and change things, and not care too much who he offends in the process.
But whether they opt for Wane or Shane Flanagan or someone else, whoever comes into the Rhinos job needs the proper support of the club’s hierarchy.
They need the time and space to conduct root and branch reform of the club and its structures.
Leeds fans may need to show patience before the glory days return to the club.
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