Gary Hetherington on why Rohan Smith was picked as new Leeds Rhinos head coach

Leeds Rhinos chief executive Gary Hetherington says the Rhinos have recruited “one of the most exciting young coaches in the game” in Rohan Smith.

“He is highly regarded both here in England and in Australia and he is passionate about coaching and, most importantly for us, excited about developing our players and a winning culture and environment,” explained Hetherington, who flew out to Australia to speak to several candidates after Richard Agar last month decided to step down.

“I would like to thank Norths Devils and Brisbane Broncos in allowing us to speak to Rohan about our vacancy.

“I know both clubs rate him extremely highly, not just because of his coaching philosophies, but how he has transferred that into a winning team at the Devils.

“At the outset I stated this was one of the most important appointments in our club’s history.

“I would like to thank all our supporters and partners for their patience during this period but it was vital that we spoke to all interested parties both here in England and overseas.

“Through that process, Rohan Smith was an outstanding candidate for the role and I am personally delighted to have agreed the deal to bring him to Headingley.

“Interestingly, Rohan is three years older than his uncle Tony when he became coach of the Rhinos and I see many parallels in both their early coaching careers to this point.

“Rohan has vast experience having been part of various coaching teams over the last 20 years, working with people some of the biggest names in modern NRL coaching.

“We had two overriding criteria when selecting our new head coach.

“The first was that they must have had experience and success as a head coach and secondly have experience of working at the highest level in Super League or the NRL and Rohan fits the bill on both those fronts.

“I would like to thank Jamie Jones-Buchanan and the rest of the coaching staff for the outstanding job they have done in difficult circumstances in recent weeks.”

Norths Devils president Michael Crutcher said: “This is great news for Rohan. We are delighted that his work has been recognised with an appointment of this nature.

“His work here has been outstanding. He built a squad that went from outsiders to premiers in the space of three full seasons in a highly-competitive league.”

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