Everything Ian Blease said on Brad Arthur, longer stay in 2025 and Leeds Rhinos recruitment

Aaron Bower
Ian Blease Leeds Rhinos Alamy

Ian Blease is the new sporting director of Leeds Rhinos

Ian Blease addressed the media on Wednesday morning after Leeds Rhinos confirmed the appointment of Brad Arthur as their new head coach: and there was plenty to discuss.

Blease discussed in great detail the plans for the Rhinos both in the short and long-term, and what Arthur’s appointment means for the club moving forwards.

Here’s everything Blease said on the key matters.

The hunt for the 2025 coach: could it be Arthur?

Nothing is being ruled out, it seems.

Blease said: “The long-term objective of securing the coach is still ongoing. Brad has put his hand up and said he can come for a short period but could be available for long-term if necessary.”

When pushed on if Arthur was a realistic option for next season, Blease confirmed: “All options are open at this moment. It’s still an option.”

Blease also admitted talks continue with other potential candidates, too.

“There is the potential he could take charge next year but we are still having other conversations with other coaches. There are a number of hoops to jump through and processes to go through. I’m well on the track with doing that but that will stay within the club.”

Will Arthur influence recruitment?

It certainly seems so – irrespective of whether or not he is the head coach in 2025.

“We’ve had conversations about that, bizarrely this morning before he boarded the plane about players wanting to come and join him,” Blease said.

“We’ve got a tight cap and I need to look at that but I’m sure there’ll be some advice. I’ve spent my life learning off people.”

What about Paul Rowley?

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Rowley was on the agenda as Leeds continue to look for another head coach beyond this year if Arthur decides against staying.

But Blease played any questions about the Salford coach with a straight bat. When asked if Rowley was a candidate, Blease said: “Paul’s under contract. He’s under contract.”

Blease then reiterated, when asked if he was still under consideration for 2025: “It wouldn’t be right for me to say something if a coach is under contract, so I wouldn’t comment on that. I can’t say that.”

Why Arthur now?

In Blease’s opinion – because Leeds still have plenty to play for this season.

“He’s been in the NRL for a long time and the first thing I thought was that he commanded my respect – he’s a genuinely honest guy,” Blease said.

“We will look at all options, nothing needs to happen for him. He is desperate to come here, he is on the flight already. He will have a look at the club, hopefully look at the coaches and improve the performances on the pitch.

“We have been inconsistent all year and everyone has admitted that. We want an improvement on the pitch and that’s what we are aiming for. We are still targeting the play-offs. That’s why this has happened now.”


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