Leeds ‘don’t have any firm plans in place’ to replace McDermott – Hetherington

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Chief executive Gary Hetherington has little idea as to who will replace the sacked Brian McDermott as Leeds coach.

The Rhinos have been thrust into planning for a new era at Headingley after announcing McDermott, 48, the club’s most successful coach, had departed on Monday morning.

McDermott goes with the defending champions eighth in the table but in the semi-finals of the Challenge Cup. The club’s backroom staff will hold the fort against Castleford this weekend.

“To be honest, I don’t have any firm plans in place,” Hetherington said. “I recognise the need to put them in place and that will be the challenge over the next 48 hours.”

When asked when the club hoped to appoint McDermott’s successor, Hetherington added: “We don’t know. I honestly don’t have that sort of detail or information to share with you.

“This was never envisaged. We’ve not been scheming or planning this for several weeks or months. This was never envisaged.

“So we find ourselves in uncharted waters. It’s thrown up a number of challenges of which I’m very aware of and we need to be working through them with immediate effect.”

McDermott succeeded Brian McClennan in October 2010 and went on to guide Leeds to glory in four Grand Finals, as well as two Challenge Cups and a World Club Challenge.

The Rhinos were crowned league champions last October but have endured a chastening run in recent weeks, and a 46-8 loss to Wigan last Thursday was their seventh straight Super League defeat.

They are on their worst run in the Super League era, which has left them clinging to a top-eight place, and have lost nine of their last 12 games in all competitions.

Assistant coach Barry Eaton, plus former players James Lowes and Chev Walker, are among a 14-strong coaching staff which will take charge at Castleford.

“I’ve not had time to check my phone, but I’m sure there will obviously be a lot of interest as there always is,” Hetherington said.

“That’s what you’d expect with a club of this standing. All that will be dealt with appropriately in due course.”

McDermott had been the league’s longest-serving coach and last week’s defeat to Wigan was his 265th game in charge.

His squad has been decimated by injuries this year – at one point they had 12 senior players on the sidelines – while they have not won in the league since beating Hull KR at the end of April.

“There has been a concern, which has been shared by everyone at our club, including Brian, the coaching staff, the players, fans, management and sponsors – everybody in our club,” Hetherington added.

“Performances and results have not been where we would like them to have been.

“There are always reasons. We’ve been ravaged by injuries and that is an actual reason, it’s not an excuse.

“We find ourselves in a critical situation and we need to effect change.”

In an unusual move, the club’s statement announcing McDermott’s sacking quoted the fallen boss, who said: “Obviously it is not a decision I agree with. I am extremely disappointed this has happened.

“I wish everyone at the club the best and my thoughts will be with the team on Sunday and through to the end of the season.”

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