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Dan Ryan

Dan Ryan (Ben Lumley)

Leeds Rhinos Netball’s inaugural Head Coach Dan Ryan has made the difficult decision to return home to Australia.

The 37-year-old, who has been living overseas for the past three years, said that due to the length of time away from his family and all the complications associated with Covid, it was the right time to settle back home.

Speaking about his decision to leave the club Ryan said: “I’ve absolutely loved my time with Leeds Rhinos Netball and coaching the inaugural team has been one of the most fulfilling and rewarding experiences of my career so far.

“I’m so grateful to the club for all the opportunities and I want to thank everyone involved for supporting me and believing in me. It’s been an absolute pleasure going on this journey and if this role was based in Australia, I’d never want to leave, as I’ve absolutely thrived here,” he said.

“Living overseas does come with some big sacrifices though and being so far away from home for so long has been challenging, especially over the past 12 months. It’s really sad to be ending my time in the UK, but I know this is the right decision and I’m excited to be closer to my family again and see what’s next for me.”

Ryan, who has been with the Rhinos for the past two years, played a key role in building the franchise and led the team to the finals in their maiden season.

Under his leadership, the Rhinos full time programme saw the team become one of the most exciting and respected teams in the league, with all the athletes developing at a rapid rate.

It provided a platform for some exciting new talent to emerge and re-emerge, culminating with five athletes selected into the Roses programmes.

Ryan added: “I’m incredibly proud of all of the success we achieved together this year. Seeing the individual players and the team grow and develop into a real force is something I’ll cherish for a very long time.

“I’m really confident that we’ve built a great foundation here for a really sustainable and bright future for the club and netball in Yorkshire.

“We’ve secured a great playing list for 2022 and I know that the new head coach coming in will do a brilliant job and continue to build on what we started this year.”

Leeds Rhinos Netball’s franchise director, Dan Busfield commented: “I would like to thank Dan for his huge contribution to our franchise over the last two years – from developing the elite training programme to leading our team to the Superleague Finals Weekend in our first season.

“Dan has been there from the start of our journey and his passion and enthusiasm has helped build a team that has been exciting and entertaining to watch and internally he has created a team culture that we believe will allow our franchise to flourish and succeed in the future.

“We will now begin the recruitment process to bring in a new head coach to join our exciting coaching set up that includes assistant coach Maggie Birkinshaw and head of athletic performance and development, Dr Sarah Whitehead.  We are confident we will be able to attract a strong calibre of coach who will be able to build on the strong foundations from our first season.”

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