Jamie Jones-Buchanan on ‘revelatory conversations’ with struggling Leeds Rhinos halfbacks

Leeds Rhinos interim head coach Jamie Jones-Buchanan says that his eyes were opened by conversations with halfback pair Blake Austin and Aidan Sezer.

The duo, former teammates at Canberra Raiders, were reunited in the off-season by signing for Leeds from Warrington Wolves and Huddersfield Giants respectively.

However, both have struggled to make an impact in the early rounds of the season, which have seen the Rhinos lose five of their opening six matches and Richard Agar step down as boss.

Jones-Buchanan has stepped up while a search takes place for a new permanent head coach and will lead Leeds out for the first time on Saturday when Castleford Tigers come to Headingley in the sixth round of the Challenge Cup.

He says that he has spoken to Austin and Sezer in a bid to find possible reasons for their difficult starts at the club.

“It is an issue that we need to address offensively,” Jones-Buchanan said of the pair’s form. 

“We’re not scoring enough points and they’re the architects around that, they’re the people we really lean on to manage us around the field. 

“I had what I can only describe as revelatory conversations with both of them (on Tuesday) in a group. That opened my eyes to some things that I wasn’t aware of. 

“I did so with a big smile on my face by the end of it. A smile and a headache at the same time. 

“To diagnose an issue and understand it, means that we can start to work together to fix it. 

“There’s a bit of work to do with that but ultimately in the past my role (as assistant coach) has been (focused) defensively, with some of the contact elements and the wrestle. 

“Now I’m having a holistic approach to the team, I’m starting to understand some other issues. 

“The overarching picture is that it’s been like being given the keys to Disneyland. I’ve got the free run of it until six o’clock on Saturday afternoon. 

“I’ve gone in there and noticed that some of the fuses in the fusebox are not quite firing right. 

“You open it up and there are little fuses, it’s not a hard problem to fix but we’re going to have to methodically go through and pay attention to every little constituent part, get all the rides firing up and get rid of all the glitches.

“We’ve got (Zane) Tetevano suspended, we’ve got a few injuries, and a couple of lads who aren’t firing quite right. 

“The layout is going to have to change slightly and the flow of it will be nuanced, but actually I understand where the fusebox is and what needs to change. 

“It’s just getting everybody with their hard hats and head torches on, working on that and getting as much done as we can by Saturday afternoon.”