Agar is staying, insists Hetherington

Leeds Rhinos chief executive Gary Hetherington insists coach Richard Agar is in it for the long haul, contradicting reports in Australia that he would be heading to the NRL’s Cronulla Sharks next season to work alongside their new coach, former Hull FC player Craig Fitzgibbon.

Reports suggested that Agar would be replaced at Headingley by former Brisbane Broncos coach Anthony Seibold, but Hetherington, while admitting that Agar spoke to Seibold about a possible role at Headingley, says that the contact has got no farther than that.

Agar has worked previously in the NRL. He was on the staff at St George Illawarra Dragons before joining the Rhinos in December 2018 in a newly-created position as head of the club’s player development system.

Following the departure of coach Dave Furner in May 2019, Agar took caretaker charge and led Leeds away from the Super League relegation zone to a final position of eighth.

He took the job on a rolling twelve-month contract in September 2019 and last year led Leeds to the play-offs and Challenge Cup success over Salford at Wembley.

“Richard Agar will be with Leeds Rhinos in 2022 and for many years to come,” said Hetherington.

“From next season, the likelihood is that he will continue as head coach with expanded responsibilities.

“He has had discussions with Anthony Seibold and others who have expressed an interest in a coaching role with Leeds Rhinos but, contrary to reports in Australia, no offer has been made to anyone and we continue to explore our options.”

The departure of director of rugby Kevin Sinfield to Leicester Tigers at the end of the season had brought speculation that Agar could move upstairs.

But sources suggest that, despite an inconsistent start to this season, the club is happy with the direction of travel under Agar, with the emergence of several Academy products, such as Jack Broadbent and Morgan Gannon, under his watch considered a significant success.

Broadbent scored four tries as Leeds chalked up fifth win in ten Super League matches by beating Leigh 48-18 at Headingley on Wednesday.

After a Monday-night (July 5) game at Warrington, where Agar spent three seasons as assistant coach before heading to St George, Leeds host Catalans on Friday.

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