Ranking every Leeds Rhinos coach in Super League era by win percentage after Rohan Smith exit

Aaron Bower

Rohan Smith has been relieved of his duties at Leeds Rhinos after just over two years in charge.

It means that the Rhinos are now on the hunt for their 11th permanent head coach of the Super League era, after Smith was let go by Leeds on Wednesday.

Smith had over two years at the helm at Headingley: but how does his win record stack up to the other ten men who have coached Leeds on a permanent basis in the summer era? Here’s the full breakdown..

10. David Furner: 33.3%

Of the ten men to permanently coach Leeds Rhinos in the Super League era, it was Furner’s ill-fated stint which ranks as the worst in terms of win percentage.

Furner was in charge at Headingley for 15 games, winning just five of them. He left in May 2019 after barely six months in charge of the club, with Richard Agar eventually replacing him.

9. Rohan Smith: 50.8%

Rohan Smith Leeds Rhinos

There is, in truth, not much between the next few candidates on this list – but it’s the most recent incumbent in Smith who is next up on the list.

He won a fraction over half of his games in his two years in charge at AMT Headingley, with Leeds winning 31 of his 61 matches as head coach at the time of writing.

8. Richard Agar: 52.8%

Richard Agar Leeds Rhinos

Another recent incumbent of the head coaching role at Leeds is up next. Agar’s record of 70 competitive matches in charge of the Rhinos includes his spell as caretaker, which was then ultimately turned permanent in September of 2019.

Agar won 37 matches as head coach at Headingley, before leaving in the early stages of the 2022 campaign – when he would ultimately be replaced on a permanent basis by Rohan Smith.

He did leave with a major trophy to his name though – guiding the Rhinos to the 2020 Challenge Cup title with victory over Salford at Wembley.

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7. Dean Bell: 53.2%

Dean Bell Leeds Rhinos

Bell had a stint as a player with Leeds in the mid-1980s, before returning to Headingley as head coach in late-1995. However, he would take to the playing field one more time in the 1996 season to help the Rhinos steer away from relegation in the inaugural Super League campaign.

His win record of just over 53 per cent includes games both before and during the early days of the Super League era. Bell stepped aside at the end of 1997 to take up a new role in Leeds’ youth setup – where he was responsible for signing some of the club’s greatest ever players including Danny McGuire and Rob Burrow.

6. Daryl Powell: 58.1%

Daryl Powell Leeds Rhinos

After finishing his playing career at Headingley, Powell retired in 2000 to take up a role in Leeds’ youth development system. However, just months later, he was elevated to the role of head coach after Dean Lance left the Rhinos in the early stages of the 2001 campaign.

Powell led Leeds to a Challenge Cup final during his time in charge, winning 32 of his 55 games in all competitions. He stepped aside to facilitate the arrival of Tony Smith as head coach, with Powell moving upstairs into a director of rugby role.

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5. Dean Lance: 58.8%

The man Powell replaced at Headingley is next on this list – with both he and Dean Lance sharing near-identical win percentage records.

Lance coached Leeds in 34 competitive fixtures, winning 20 of them, before he departed the club just weeks into the 2001 season.

4. Brian McDermott: 61%

Brian McDermott, Leeds Rhinos, 2015

No man has coached Leeds on more occasions in Super League history than Brian McDermott – who presided over a period of genuine success that established the Rhinos as one of world rugby league’s great clubs.

That was headlined by their treble success of 2015, when Leeds swept the board and won every domestic honour. In total, McDermott led Leeds into 264 competitive fixtures, winning 161 of them before departing the club in 2018. He would go on to have spells coaching Toronto and Featherstone – and is now working in the NRL as an assistant at Newcastle Knights.

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3. Brian McClennan: 71.6%

Brian McClennan Leeds Rhinos SWpix
Brian McClennan was head coach of the Rhinos between 2008-10

Three men have coached Leeds Rhinos to a win percentage of over 70 per cent in the summer era – and all of them are iconic figures in the club’s modern history.

The first, Kiwi Brian McLennan, had three seasons in charge at Leeds between 2008 and 2010. During that time, he won 73 of his 102 matches in charge and won a World Club Challenge, a League Leader’s Shield and two Super League titles.

He is still regarded as one of Leeds’ finest coaches of recent times.

2. Tony Smith: 73.1%

Tony Smith Leeds Rhinos SWpix
Tony Smith was in charge of the Rhinos between 2004-07

Arguably the man who ushered in Leeds’ golden generation of success at first-team level, Smith’s arrival at Headingley for the start of the 2004 season coincided with a sustained period of success.

In his first season in charge, he led them to the Super League title, following that up with a World Club Challenge triumph in 2005 too. He then delivered another Super League title in 2007, his final match in charge before departing Headingley. In total, Smith coached Leeds on 134 occasions, winning 98 of them.

1. Graham Murray: 73.8%

Graham Murray Leeds Rhinos

Perhaps the most popular coach Leeds have had in a generation, Murray joined Leeds in 1998 from Hunter Mariners and instantly set about transforming the fortunes of the Rhinos.

Leeds would reach the Super League Grand Final in Murray’s first season in charge and while they lost to Wigan, he delivered silverware the following year when Leeds won the 1999 Challenge Cup final against London Broncos at Wembley.

He left Leeds at the conclusion of the 1999 campaign with a record of 48 wins from 65 games: the finest of any modern era coach at Headingley.

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