Oldham spring major surprise with McDermott appointment

BRIAN McDERMOTT is back in Rugby League … at Oldham!

The surprise appointment as coaching consultant of the former Leeds surpremo comes with the Roughyeds fighting to escape the Championship relegation zone.

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

With two clubs to go down, they are second-bottom with only two wins from eleven.

Former Bradford and Great Britain prop McDermott, 51, coached 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 coach 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.

McDermott will work alongside assistant coach Brendan Sheridan at Oldham, who host Bradford, for whom he played for ten years in the club’s Super League glory days, on Sunday.

His appointment is until the end of the season, and chairman Chris 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.

“Brian is coming in as coaching consultant until the end of the season, and he will work closely with Shez.

“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 at Roughyeds.

“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.”