Interim Leeds coach Richard Agar says he has given no thought to whether he even wants to consider the prospect of a full-time return to coaching – adding that no discussions have taken place over how long he could be in charge of the Rhinos for.
Agar has been thrust into a return to coaching following Dave Furner’s sacking on Monday. Only several weeks ago he was working in a non-coaching capacity for the Rhinos, before stepping into James Lowes’ role as assistant coach when Lowes departed Headingley.
But now, the former Hull and Wakefield coach will lead the Rhinos in Saturday’s Challenge Cup tie against Bradford – and he admits it’s come as a huge surprise to him to be back in the ‘helter-skelter’ of coaching.
“Getting back into the helter-skelter of first team coaching wasn’t on my agenda,” he said. “I was really enjoying the job I was doing. I know you guys want to put your short-list together but honestly, all my conversations this week have been about whether I would look after it for this week, and then Gary (Hetherington) and Kevin (Sinfield) will probably get their heads together and decide the best route for the club.
“I’m employed by the club and whatever role they see for me going forward is great because I do want to be a part of it. I think the club is still going through a bit of a rebuilding phase but with some of the quality talent and juniors on the books, I do want to be part of it. They may have hit a bit of a difficult period over the last couple of years, but I think they could and should become one of the dominant forces in the game again, sooner rather than later.
“I can say hand on heart I’ve no conversations about the long-term though. It’s been about getting through these couple of days and getting the team ready. If the club then wants to talk and canvas my opinions I’ll do that, but I’m also very conscious about Dave. He’s my mate and I know what a tough situation has been for him to deal with.”
Agar also admits he has spoken with Furner on numerous occasions since his departure at the start of the week, and insists that his sole focus is making sure the squad are ready to perform at the weekend.
He said: “Dave’s a good mate of mine and he asked me to help him out. The speed with which this has happened – I know this sounds really cliche, but I have to just concentrate on getting the players focussed for this week.
“Long-term plans simply haven’t been discussed. The speed at which events happened over the weekend probably, understandably, left the club in a position where they had no back-up plan at the time. Being the most experienced coach left in the club I feel it’s my duty really to step into the role and try and stabilise what will be a difficult period, losing a coach and the team not being where you want it to be in the league.
I’m not there thinking ‘great, this is my chance to do the job’. I just want to do a really good job for however long it needs the club, Kevin and Gary to work out what’s next.”