Leeds yet to make plans for McDermott’s replacement ahead of Sunday’s clash with Castleford

Gary Hetherington insists no plans have been put in place to replace Brian McDermott as a decision on who will take charge for Sunday’s game with Castleford remains unresolved.

McDermott was sacked on Monday after almost eight seasons in charge following seven straight defeats, which has left the Rhinos battling a fight to avoid a place in the Qualifiers.

A meeting is set to take place later today to put plans into place for their game against the Tigers, with Hetherington admitting that the decision to remove McDermott from his post had not been pre-empted.

The Rhinos squad is currently not set to return to training on Wednesday after it had already been agreed they would be given time off after their defeat to Wigan.

Hetherington, who said he had no “firm plans” in place, is now planning on using the time handed to him by their absence to iron out preperations for their crucial game with Castleford on Sunday.

“We’ve had a ten-day turnaround which had already been planned for players to be off until Wednesday this week,” he said.

“In an ideal situation, we’d have brought in all the players and staff and they’d been the first to know but that’s proved to be impossible.

“There’s a lot of decisions to be made in terms of the group for the game on Sunday. But these days Super League departments are made up of many people. The head coach is the senior person in that but everyone else is still in place.

“All those challenges will now need to be worked through. To be honest I don’t have any firm plans in place but I recognise the need to do that in the next 48 hours.”

Hetherington, who confirmed that he informed McDermott of his decision on Sunday, was keen to pay his respects to the 48-year-old despite his departure, confirming the decision had left McDermott frustrated.

“This is the outcome that will be a surprise to many I imagine,” Hetherington said.

“Brian is not only extremely disappointed but unhappy as well, it’s not the way he’d have seen his departure and me neither. But such is the industry we’re in, the sport we’re in that the decision was made, as all decisions are made, with the club’s best interest at heart taking into account all factors. The primary motive is that there’s a need for a change of direction.

“It’s not lost on me that this a traumatic time for Brian himself, we never envisaged a departure part way through a season. It’s not lost on me for any individual in any organisation this is a major upheaval, but one for Brian McDermott who has put his soul into the team that this can turn his life upside down.

“It’s a sad day in many ways because we are reflecting now on someone who will be remembered forever as someone who has made a major contribution to the success of this club and team.

“He’s the most successful coach in the club’s history, but moreover, the characteristics he’s brought that will be his own legacy and will be inherited by his successor.

“He’s an outstanding man, a man full of integrity and honesty and full of passion for Rugby League.”

Hetherington added: “Our team finds itself on the back of seven straight defeats at a critical part of the season. We have forthcoming Super League fixtures which will determine whether we’re in to retain our title at Old Trafford or battling to get back into Super League. There’s also the Challenge Cup opportunity and whatever outcome awaits us at the end of the season. There is a belief that we need to effect a change.

“The responsibility clearly lies with senior management, the coaching staff, not just the head coach, and the players themselves. There needs to be a collective responsibility. The coaching staff per say will be the first to admit the results have not been where we’d like them to be. We’re the Champions, we expected more this season. “