Brian McDermott linked with Featherstone as club confirm departure of James Webster

FEATHERSTONE have confirmed the departure of James Webster amid speculation linking Brian McDermott with a Rovers role.

The club say Webster, who led his side to this year’s Million Pound Game after winning the 1895 Cup with victory over York at Wembley, has departed by mutual consent.

Featherstone missed out on promotion to Super League as they were beaten 34-12 by Toulouse in France earlier this month.

That was one of only three defeats in 34 matches during the reign of former Hull KR and Wakefield coach Webster, who succeeded fellow Australian Ryan Carr in October 2019.

The Sydney-born 42-year-old, who played for Balmain Tigers, Parramatta Eels, Hull KR, Hull and Widnes and has had a spell on the coaching staff at Leeds, is a graduate of Leeds Beckett University, and is said to be keen to focus on teaching work and further studying there.

A statement read: “Featherstone Rovers can confirm that James Webster has parted company with the club by mutual consent.

James’s contract was up this month, and he has taken the decision to focus on his studies and lecturing work at Leeds Beckett.”

Club chairman Mark Campbell said: “I had been talking with James throughout the season about extending his contract for 2022 so was shocked, when at the eleventh hour, he advised me that due to his personal commitments, he didn’t want to coach in Super League if the club were successful in the Grand Final.

“Throughout my leadership of the club, I have had the sole burning ambition of Featherstone Rovers achieving its Super League goal, so I have had no alternative but to decide to look for other alternatives who share the same drive.

“James’ legacy at the club will be an extremely successful centenary year where we won the 1895 Cup and came so close to achieving our Super League objective.

“I thank him for all his efforts. We will redouble our efforts to make sure we stand the best possible chance of achieving our goals.”

McDermott led Leeds to a World Club Challenge, four Super League titles and two Challenge Cups, then piloted Toronto Wolfpack to success over Featherstone in the 2019 Million Pound Game and therefore promotion to Super League.

The 51-year-old had a stint as coaching consultant at Oldham this season, but was unable to help steer the Roughyeds to Championship survival.