Brian Noble says it would be “bonkers for the game” if Leeds were relegated from Super League.
The Rhinos are currently third from bottom on eight points after a poor start to the season, and they face basement side London Broncos at Anfield this weekend.
Writing in his Forty-20 magazine column, Noble said: “To see them at the wrong end of the table and failing to entertain, while lacking those choices (a coach) at the top is unexpected.
“But it’s also a refreshing reminder that you can’t take anything for granted in this game.
“When you have a comp that revolves around relegation, people say it’s tough at the top. Trust me, it’s tougher at the bottom.
“Leeds is not dis-similar to Wigan when I was there. In danger of falling off the perch, we had one hell of a fight. The club needed change and because Dave Whelan and Maurice Lindsay saw that and helped to bring it about, it was transformed.
“But it’s not an overnight thing. And I’ve said it before, if the Rhinos did finish last and go down, that would be bonkers for the game – and I’m a Bradfordian for goodness sake.
“The reality is that as things stand, a club can go on a downward spiral.”
More on Leeds
Noble is now director of rugby at Toronto Wolfpack, heavy favourites to potentially replace Leeds in Super League as Championship winners.
He is synonymous for his career at Bradford, who he led to three Super League titles, three World Club Challenge wins and a Challenge Cup, as well as representing them during his playing days.
The Bulls are still one of only four clubs to have won Super League since its inception in 1996, but were relegated to the third tier in 2017 following a turbulent five year period that saw them enter administration three times, and included their relegation from Super League when it reduced to 12 teams.
Published on the Friday closest to the 13th day of the month – Forty20 is the alternative voice of rugby league. Intelligent, thought-provoking, informative and fun, and covers rugby league at every level. Click here for details on how to subscribe.