McDermott already making his mark says Oldham skipper

OLDHAM skipper Gareth Owen says Brian McDermott has already made a major impact after his appointment as coaching consultant.

The Roughyeds have pulled off a real coup by enlisting the former highly-successful Leeds chief in their fight to avoid relegation from the Championship.

Long-serving Owen met McDermott – who will work alongside Brendan Sheridan, who was assistant to former coach Matt Diskin, initially until the end of this season – for the first time on Tuesday.

“We had a session on the training pitch after he spent an hour talking to us as a group, and it’s fair to day we had a spring in our step,” said the 28-year-old hooker, who joined Oldham from Salford in 2015.

“Brian has an unbelievable record as a coach, and when he speaks, you listen, because he commands respect with the way he conducts himself.

“We know we have the players to compete in this division, but it’s about mindset, and I think Brian has improved that already.

“Like I say, we all felt positive after his talk, and the session which followed was great, all about doing the simple things well and consistently.

“There is a lot of hard work ahead of us, but we have ten games remaining, and that’s a lot of points to play for.

“We were all disappointed about Matt Diskin leaving, but Chris (Hamilton, the Oldham chairman) could hardly have brought in someone better.

“Brian’s arrival has given us all a lift, and it’s up to us as a group to make the most of having him here.”

The new era kicks off with Oldham seeking a third win in twelve games this season on Sunday, when they host Bradford, where McDermott spent ten years as a player.

“It couldn’t really have been scripted better,” added Owen, above “There should be a great atmosphere, and we’re all up for it.”

Oldham parted company with Diskin after an 18-4 home loss to Dewsbury in their last match.

With two clubs to go down, they are second-bottom.

Former Great Britain prop McDermott, 51, led Leeds to a World Club Challenge triumph, four Super League titles and two Challenge Cup successes during his eight years in charge between 2011-18.

He began his coaching career in 2003 as an assistant at Huddersfield, taking his first head role with Harlequins (now London Broncos) in 2006.

McDermott took charge of Toronto in November 2018 and led the Canadian club to promotion from the Championship in 2019.

He was highly critical of the decision made in November not to readmit the Wolfpack to Super League after they withdrew midway through last season due to financial problems brought on by the pandemic.

His appointment is until the end of the season, and Hamilton said: “This is a huge capture for the club and one that I am sure will be massively welcomed by all concerned, especially our supporters.

“His marvellous record as player and coach speaks for itself. More than that, he is his own man and that was very much part of the appeal in talking to him.

“I have always had a lot of respect for Brian and I don’t think we could have got anyone better in the situation we are in.”

McDermott said: “Chris and I go back a long way, and I have always held him in high regard for the way he has run the club over many years and for the way he has conducted himself in his chairmanship.

“Due to unfortunate circumstances, Oldham find themselves in a relegation battle.

“Chris asked me for help and advice. We met for talks and I am pleased to say I will come on board.

“Matt Diskin will have put good systems and coaching philosophies in place, of that I’m sure, so I won’t be coming in to turn the place upside down or anything like that.

“Sometimes, a different voice, a new perspective and a change of personnel can make the difference.”