Leeds Rhinos have sacked Brian McDermott, ending his status as the longest-serving head coach in Super League.
During eight seasons at the club, McDermott, 48, won four Grand Finals, two Challenge Cups, a League Leaders’ Shield and a World Club Challenge.
But the Rhinos are currently eighth in the Super League table with four games remaining in the regular season.
“Obviously it is not a decision I agree with,” said McDermott.
“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.”
McDermott has led Leeds for 265 games since taking over in 2011 and guided the Rhinos to at least one major final in every year of his tenure.
But the Yorkshire club have been hampered by injuries this season and Thursday’s 46-8 defeat at Wigan Warriors was their fourth loss in a row and a ninth in 12 matches in all competitions.
‘Forever indebted to Brian’
Chief executive Gary Hetherington said the club will “forever be indebted” to McDermott.
“The club’s most successful coach has also helped to forge a rugby operation with toughness, resilience and a strong desire to succeed, which his successor will inherit,” said Hetherington.
“Eight years is a long time for any head coach at the same club and we have enjoyed much success and endured some difficult times along the way when tough decisions had to be made.
“We have always come through strongly but I do believe our present predicament requires change and that this is the right call for the club.
“Brian is a man of the utmost integrity and passion for rugby league. He has so much to offer the sport and I have no doubt he will go on to achieve more success in the future.”