Brian McDermott (rugby league)

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Brian McDermott
Brian Mac.JPG
Personal information
Full name Brian G. McDermott
Born (1970-03-16) 16 March 1970 (age 45)
Wakefield, West Riding of Yorkshire, England, UK
Playing information
Position Prop
Years Team Pld T G FG P
1994–03 Bradford Northern 251 33 0 0 132
Years Team Pld T G FG P
1996–98 Great Britain 4 0 0 0 0
2001 England 1 0 0 0 0
Coaching information
Years Team Gms W D L W%
2006–10 Harlequins RL 143 51 4 88 36
2011– Leeds Rhinos 106 68 2 36 64
Total 249 119 6 124 48
Source: RLP coaching & RLP playing

Brian G. McDermott (born 16 March 1970 in Wakefield, West Riding of Yorkshire) is an English professional rugby league football coach and former player. He is the head coach of the Leeds Rhinos club of Super League, having started his coaching career at Harlequins in 2006. A Great Britain international representative forward, McDermott played his club football for Bradford Northern, winning Grand Finals and Challenge Cups with them.


McDermott was a Royal Marine for five years and played amateur rugby league as a junior for Eastmoor RLFC before becoming professional.

Playing career[edit]


McDermott joined Bradford Northern in 1994, where he stayed for 10 years. He played for Bradford at prop forward in their 1996 Challenge Cup Final loss to St Helens.[1] McDermott won a cap for England while at Bradford Bulls in 2001 against Wales,[2] and won caps for Great Britain while at Bradford in 1996 against Fiji, and in 1997 against Australia (SL) (3 matches).[3] In the 1997 post season, McDermott was selected to play for Great Britain at prop forward in all three matches of the Super League Test series against Australia. McDermott played for Bradford Bulls from the interchange bench in the 1999 Super League Grand Final which was lost to St Helens RLFC.


McDermott played for the Bradford Bulls at prop forward in their 2001 Super League Grand Final victory against the Wigan Warriors. As Super League VI champions, the Bulls played against 2001 NRL Premiers, the Newcastle Knights in the 2002 World Club Challenge. McDermott played as a prop forward in Bradford's victory. He also played for Bradford from the interchange bench in their 2002 Super League Grand Final loss against St Helens RFC. After ending his playing career in 2004, McDermott moved into coaching.

Coaching career[edit]


McDermott had spells on the coaching staff at Super League clubs Huddersfield and Leeds before accepting his first top-flight head coaching role at Harlequins in July 2006, replacing Tony Rea. McDermott won his first ever match as a Head Coach against Castleford. He went on to claim 5 wins and 4 losses in 2006. His record was boosted by the fact that he won three of these games by two or less points to take 'Quins to a very flattering seventh position in what was a season long battle against relegation with safety only certain with a couple of games to go.

In 2007, McDermott's team won at St Helens away at the start of the season. His luck from 2006 was not followed up with narrow wins being replaced by a series of home draws and he also saw him team lose the only tryless game in Super League history at Salford, 5-2. The club won just 9 games and finished 9th but was competitive in the main.

He started 2008 started with a heavy home loss to Wigan but then gained four successive wins before being smashed at Leeds. The promising start evaporated and the club again won just 9 games, finishing 9th. The victory against Leeds was his best result of the season but a crushing home defeat to Castleford was his worst.

In 2009 the season saw Harlequins with 9 wins from 15 out of the first 16 rounds on 12 June 2010 and up to fourth place. These early results saw Warrington thrashed 60-8 plus Harlequins win away to Leeds and Hull KR, but also four wins against the newly promoted Celtic Crusaders and Salford clubs which helped show a strong record.

After 12 June, McDermott saw his side collapse with only one further win - away at Bradford on 2 August 2009 - from the last 12 games of the season. Supporters had grown used to a second half of the season decline but the fall from fourth to eleventh was not expected. The long series of embarrassing home defeats including losing an 8 point lead to Salford with four minutes to go, a 0-48 loss to Castleford and the Bradford home defeat which included a 0-36 reverse at half-time. This gave an overall of 11 wins from 27 games.


In 2010, the continuation of Brian's tenure was not entirely supported and the club won just the third game of the season against Catalans from all the first eleven games. This took his record to just two wins from twenty three games. Perhaps the biggest shock in the 15th season of Super League was the comeback from the half-time 6-24 reverse to win away at Wigan in round 12. He then signed Kevin Penny on loan and won four out of five games. After this run ended on 1 May and as in 2009 it was 9 July before the next win and another 6 weeks later before a late try took the two points on 14 August against Catalans. This gave him 6 wins from 26 games, with a last match against Warrington to come.

By the end of 2010, McDermott had won just 40 games from a total of very close to 120 games and seen the club decline from 7th to 9th, 9th again, 11th and then to a position between 12th and 14th and was out of contract in July 2011. 7 wins from 38 games made a contract renewal implausible and it was no surprise that there was no offer of a new contract at Quins. He was declined by Bradford and England as Head Coach and he eventually chose to rejoin Leeds on the support staff to Brian McClennan in his old job and return to his native Yorkshire to rejoin with his family. Soon after joining he became head coach. Brian McDermott worked as assistant to Tony Smith and has played under the likes of Brian Smith, Matthew Elliott and Brian Noble at Bradford

On 25 October 2010, following the resignation of Brian McClennan, it was announced that Brian McDermott would take over as head coach at Headingley on a three-year contract.

McDermott coached Leeds to the 2011 Challenge Cup final which was lost to Wigan. However, McDermott guided Leeds to Super League glory at Old Trafford against St Helens, astonishingly from 5th place in the league. McDermott replicated the same feat in 2012, where Leeds won the World Club Challenge against Manly Sea Eagles. They reached the 2012 Challenge Cup Final, but were beaten by Warrington. Two months later, the two sides met again in the 2012 Super League Grand Final which Leeds won for the 7th time in nine years making it two out of two for McDermott in his first two years as head coach.

By coincidence, on 12 April 2013 Leeds United announced their new manager as Brian McDermott, meaning that both the rugby league and football teams in the city of Leeds had managers with the same name as the other. Both sides also had players by the name of Ryan Hall at the same time, one a 25-year old winger for the rugby league side, the other a 25-year old winger for Leeds United.However Leeds United have since parted company with both.


  1. ^ "". Steve Prescott Stats. Steve Prescott Foundation. Retrieved 3 June 2012. 
  2. ^ "England Statistics at". englandrl. 31 December 2008. Retrieved 1 January 2009. 
  3. ^ "Great Britain Statistics at". englandrl. 31 December 2008. Retrieved 1 January 2009. 

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