Ian Blease’s first words after Leeds Rhinos appointment as sporting director

Aaron Bower
Ian Blease Leeds Rhinos Alamy

Ian Blease is the new sporting director of Leeds Rhinos

Ian Blease has joined Leeds Rhinos as the club’s new sporting director, the Super League side have confirmed.

The Rhinos have secured a deal to bring Blease to AMT Headingley from Salford Red Devils, bringing an end to his lengthy association with the club.

Blease will be tasked with overseeing an overhaul of the Rhinos’ on-field setup moving forwards, and admitted it was a role he couldn’t resist turning down.

“There’s levels within Super League and Leeds has always been a significant club that I’ve admired from afar,” he said. “It was a big decision for me and my family having been at Salford for 20 years but I’m so excited to come here now.

“It’s an absolute pleasure to be here today. I’m so excited to be given this role and it’s one that I’ve admired from afar for a while in terms of the club and its brand.

“The role I’ll be coming to do is everything Gary has said.

“There’s guys here who are embedded in the club already and I want to do that. I embedded myself into Salford for many years and I’d like to thank them for everything they’ve given me.

“But I’m here now, I’m excited and I don’t officially start until next Monday so I’ll take some time to strategise and think about what I’m going to do. I’ll be looking at all things rugby and get under the skin of the Rhinos, but I’ll take my time thinking about how we do things in the business and hopefully the fans will back that.”

Leeds’ Gary Hetherington said: “This role will focus on the growth of our organisation and improving standards at every level, including player and staff retention and recruitment.

“The role required someone who has expertise in all aspects of our industry. Someone with outstanding personal skills and someone who could make decisions, and someone who has financial acumen to be able to manage a rugby league budget.

“We had a number of high-quality applications and we’re delighted the chosen on is Ian Blease. I’d like to thank Paul King on being very approachable and understanding in enabling this appointment to go ahead.”

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