Richard Agar joined Leeds Rhinos ahead of the 2019 season in a development role looking to support the improvement of both players and coaches at Headingley as Leeds looked to move on from Brian McDermott under David Furner.
However, Agar was thrown into the deep end a few months later when a poor start to the season left Leeds in a relegation scrap for the second year in a row. Given a rolling contract, it was clear that Agar had a very specific job to do: be a safe pair of hands and oversee the steady development of the club. He did that guiding Leeds to consecutive fifth place finishes and a Challenge Cup but five defeats in six to start the season has seen Agar call time on his position.
He or the club could’ve made this call at any time over the last 12 or so months with Leeds even stating they were looking for a new Head Coach before 2022 even started with Agar’s long-term position set to be behind the scenes. In that time, Leeds have missed out on a number of high-profile coaching targets who might have been a good fit.
When London Broncos beat Furner’s Leeds in 2019 as they made a serious fist of survival, many Leeds fans identified Danny Ward as a coach they’d like to see at the club. Son of Leeds legend David Ward who captained and coached the club and a Grand Final winner with Leeds himself, Ward brings the best out of players but has recently taken a rugby union post with Rosslyn Park. It is possible Leeds could tempt him to Headingley, but the moment to get him when he was available has since passed but the bookies have him as the favourite for the job at 2/1 at this moment in time.
With an interesting link to David Furner having worked with him at South Sydney, Seibold did well as Head Coach of Souths but struggled with a difficult job at Brisbane. Last year there were rumours that he was headed to Headingley but they were denied by the club and he has since joined England Rugby Union as defence coach.
When Furner was relieved of his duties in 2019, the highest profile coach available was Shane Wane who had just left his post at Wigan the year before having won a third Super League title in a seven-year stint. Many Leeds fans wanted Gary Hetherington to make a move for him but for whatever reason this never happened and he has since taken on the role of England Head Coach.
At the end of 2020, Ian Watson’s brilliant stint at Salford came to an end after appearances at Old Trafford and Wembley. Hull FC made him an offer but ultimately, he joined Huddersfield and appears to be achieving similar success there as he did at Salford. Leeds could’ve made a move for him too but didn’t in a settled situation having beaten Watson’s Salford at Wembley that season. The bookies have him at 8/1 for the Headingley hotseat now.
Like Watson, Daryl Powell moved on from one Super League club to another after a fantastic stint at Castleford in which he led them to two cup finals, a Grand Final and a League Leaders’ Shield. Warrington were the team to acquire his services with Leeds not making a move for their former coach who helped begin the golden generation at Headingley in the first place.