Brian McDermott (rugby league)

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Brian McDermott
Brian McDermott.jpg
Personal information
Full nameBrian G. McDermott
Born (1970-03-16) 16 March 1970 (age 49)
Wakefield, West Riding of Yorkshire, England
Playing information
Years Team Pld T G FG P
1994–03 Bradford Bulls 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 115 42 3 70 37
2011–18 Leeds Rhinos 265 162 6 97 61
2019– Toronto Wolfpack 13 12 0 1 92
Total 393 216 9 168 55
Years Team Gms W D L W%
2015–18 USA 3 2 0 1 67
As of 15 May 2018
Source: [1][2][3][4]

Brian G. McDermott (born 16 March 1970), also known by the nickname of "Big Mac",[5] is an English professional rugby league coach who is the Head Coach of the Toronto Wolfpack in the Betfred Championship and a former player.[1][4] He was the head coach of the Leeds Rhinos in the Super League, and the former head coach of the USA national rugby league team.[6] As a player, McDermott was a Great Britain international forward who played his entire career at club level for Bradford Bulls, winning Super League Grand Finals and Challenge Cups with them. He began his coaching career in 2003 as an assistant at Huddersfield Giants, taking his first senior coaching role with Harlequins RL in 2006, before joining Leeds as head coach in 2010. McDermott has coached Leeds to several major trophies including the 2011, 2012, 2015 and 2017 Super League titles, the 2012 World Club Challenge, and the 2014 and 2015 Challenge Cups.


McDermott was born in Wakefield, West Riding of Yorkshire, England.

He played amateur rugby league as a junior for Eastmoor RLFC before becoming professional.

McDermott was a Royal Marine for five years.

Playing career[edit]


McDermott joined Bradford Northern (later Bradford Bulls) 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.[7] He played for Bradford Bulls from the interchange bench in the 1999 Super League Grand Final which was lost to St Helens.

McDermott won a cap for England while at Bradford Bulls in 2001 against Wales,[2] and won caps for Great Britain while at Bradford Bulls in 1996 against Fiji, and 3 in 1997 against Australia (Super League).[3]


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. After ending his playing career in 2003, McDermott moved into coaching.

McDermott in charge of Harlequins Rugby League

Coaching career[edit]

Harlequins RL[edit]

McDermott had spells on the coaching staff at Super League clubs Huddersfield Giants and Leeds before accepting his first top-flight head coaching role at Harlequins in July 2006, replacing Tony Rea. McDermott won his first match as a Head Coach against Castleford Tigers. He went on to claim 5 wins and 4 losses in the remainder of 2006.

McDermott remained at Harlequins for a further four seasons but the team decreased in performance, dropping from 7th to 9th then 9th again then 11th and finally to 13th and did notmake the play-offs in any of those years, with most seasons seeing a second half collapse; the 7th-place finish in 2006 being his highest with Harlequins.

Leeds Rhinos[edit]

McDermott left Harlequins and returned to Leeds at the end of the 2010 season. On 25 October 2010, following the resignation of incumbent coach Brian McClennan, it was announced that 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 6th 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. 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.

In 2014 McDermott coached Leeds to their first Challenge Cup win since 1999 but they were knocked out of the playoffs against Catalans Dragons after finishing 6th in the league, their worst position since 1996.

In 2015 McDermott coached Leeds to a historic treble, winning the Challenge Cup 50-0, scoring a last second try against Huddersfield Giants to win the League Leaders' Shield, and beating Wigan Warriors in a major final for the first time by 22-20 in the Grand Final. McDermott was a nominee for BBC Sports Personality of the Year Coach Award at the end of the season.

The Rhinos endured a nightmare season in 2016 as they were flooded out of their training ground for the first half of the season and suffered a horror run of injuries that left them having to fight for their Super League lives in the Qualifiers.

At the start of 2017, there were question marks over the team and McDermott however the Rhinos held their nerve and, with only the addition of Matt Parcell to the squad from the previous year, they finished runners up to Castleford Tigers in the table before beating the Tigers in the 2017 Super League Grand Final with the club sending off legends Rob Burrow and Danny McGuire out on a Champion note.

After a poor run of losing 7 games in a row. It was decided by the chairmen of the club to sack Brian McDermott as Head coach of the Leeds Rhinos in July 2018.


In 2015, McDermott was named head coach of the United States national team, combining the job with his role at Leeds.[8] His first outing as coach of the USA Hawks was in the 2017 Rugby League World Cup qualifiers, in which he guided the Hawks to victories over Jamaica and Canada, and subsequently qualified for the 2017 World Cup. After qualifying for the tournament he announced he was to stay on as the US coach until at least the end of the 2017 World Cup.[9]





  1. ^ a b "Statistics at". 31 December 2017. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
  2. ^ a b "England Statistics at". 31 December 2017. Archived from the original on 13 December 2013. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
  3. ^ a b "Great Britain Statistics at". 31 December 2017. Archived from the original on 13 December 2013. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
  4. ^ a b "Coach Statistics at". 31 December 2017. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
  5. ^ "Potter support for Big Mac". Sky Sports. 9 April 2010. Retrieved 7 November 2017.
  6. ^ Brian McDermott: Leeds Rhinos coach takes on USA role
  7. ^ "". Steve Prescott Stats. Steve Prescott Foundation. Retrieved 3 June 2012.
  8. ^ McDermott lands USA head coach role
  9. ^ McDermott to coach USA at World Cup

External links[edit]