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Replacing Tony Smith?
Posted by southstander on September 26 2006 - 06:41:11

Headingley Bound?
by Agent Provocateur

I am not convinced that Tony Smith is on his bike just yet.

However, assuming he is gone and Gary Hetherington hands him his P45 in the not-too-distant future, who are the candidates who might replace him as Rhinos coach next season?

The choices appear rather thin on the ground if you ask me.

More thoughts here...

Brian McDermott - The Quins coach and former assistant coach to Tony Smith at Leeds just a few months ago. Leeds late-season slump this year has coincided with his departure but I do believe that is just a coincidence. He was around during Leeds late-season slump last year wasn't he? I'd rate McDermott's return to Leeds as highly unlikely but you never know.

Francis Cummins - Stop laughing! He's been promoted from assistant waterboy, to waterboy, to assistant coach and waterboy in super quick time and he's a really nice bloke. Will he be promoted to first team coach and waterboy? No offence intended Franny but a 'Nice Bloke Waterboy' just ain't the answer.

Karl Harrison - He has allegedly worked wonders at Salford and turned them into a competitive Super League force to be reckoned with. A 5th placed finish on the SL ladder is a commendable effort for a team that was predicted by many to be fighting off relegation but did they really do that well? Despite finishing 5th they lost 15 regular SL games and weren't that many points ahead of the teams finishing at the bottom. He's still earned plenty of coaching brownie points however and he may be approached for the Leeds job on that basis.

Justin Morgan - The ex Toulouse and now Hull KR coach appears to be attracting interest from one or two Leeds fans on the message board. What's he achieved exactly? A couple of semi finals in the Mickey Mouse Cup in the last two years? Oh, purleeeease! Do me a favour. May as well give 'Nice Bloke Waterboy' the job instead.

Wayne Bennett - LOLOLOLOL. I mention him because a ridiculous rumour appeared on the message board a few weeks ago claiming that Bennett was really interested in the Leeds coaching job and he was fetching Darren Lockyer with him. HAHAHAHAHA. Suffice to say that I later discovered this rumour was started by DISA and his cohort Batleyrhino where fairytales are often confused with reality. This just ain't gonna happen folks.

Graham Murray - I am of the opinion that he will return to coach a Super League club one day but not just yet. Too many irons in the fire back home coaching NSW Origin and the Cowboys in the NRL. Both those teams failed this year and it remains to be seen whether Murray will get the chop as a result but there's been no indication that he's on borrowed time. If his employment circumstances change, he'd be a strong candidate to return to Leeds though.

Ian Millward - On his way back to Australia as Murray's assisant coach at the Cowboys. Unlikely to be considered by Leeds anyway.

Shaun McRae - Was shunted upstairs at South Sydney a few weeks ago and replaced as coach by Jason Taylor. He was very unhappy about that and spent the next couple of weeks considering his future. However, he finally accepted the director of coaching and football operations role and is staying at Souths. I remain unconvinced that he remains comfortable with that new role there and wouldn't be surprised if he changed his mind if offered a coaching position at a SL club. I also reckon he'd jump at the opportunity if Leeds offered him the coaching job. Don't rule him out as a possible replacement.

John Lang - The former Cronulla, Penrith and Australian Super League coach is now out of work. He's still got his TV pundit slots on Foxtel but he may be looking for another coaching gig. Would he be interested in coaching a SL club? I'm sure Hetherington approached him for the Leeds job to replace Graham Murray but Lang turned him down. Hetherington returned with Dean Lance instead. Whether Hetherington would still be interested in Lang is difficult to say but I've no doubt one of the main reasons Hetherington approached Lang at the time was because he'd be able to get him on the cheap, just like Dean Lance... both costing Leeds very little in terms of salary as their salaries were both funded by generous Australian Super League contracts. That wouldn't be the case now though.

Stuart Raper - Recently sacked by Cronulla after a disasterous late-season slump this year, so he's available. I feel a bit sorry for him because I don't think he did a poor job there. Cronulla just didn't have the requisite cattle in the Cronulla squad to sustain any kind of realistic challenge... just like Leeds in Super League, eh? He also did a great job at Castleford with limited resources and his record at Wigan wasn't that shabby either. I think he's a good coach and could do a good job at Leeds.

Terry Matterson - Still contracted to Castleford for next season but given his comments after their relegation and defeat at Wakefield last week, he appeared to be saying it's cost him his job. I interpreted that as him wanting out at Castleford. I think he did a great job there. Castleford were no-hopers and he nearly pulled a miracle off by avoiding relegation. He's a good coach, he's earned his coaching stripes at Canberra in the NRL as assistant coach and I wouldn't be unhappy if he got the Leeds job.

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