Rovers ready to hand coaching role to McDermott

Brian McDermott will take the coaching reins from James Webster at Featherstone Rovers – with the clear objective of taking the club into Super League.

The 51-year-old, who led Leeds to a World Club Challenge, four Super League titles and two Challenge Cups, achieved promotion with Toronto Wolfpack in 2019, when his side beat Featherstone 24-6 in the Million Pound Game in Canada.

But his last two years have been less successful, with Toronto suffering defeats in all six Super League games they played before their demise in 2020.

And in July, McDermott took a short-term role as coaching consultant at Oldham after they parted company with Matt Diskin.

The aim was to avoid relegation from the Championship, but the Roughyeds picked up only one point from the ten matches he was at the club for and are now preparing for life in League 1.

Rovers said Webster, who led them to this year’s Million Pound Game after winning the 1895 Cup with victory over York at Wembley, 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 the former Hull KR and Wakefield coach, 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 r edouble our efforts to make sure we stand the best possible chance of achieving our goals.”

The above content is also available in the regular weekly edition of League Express, on newsstands every Monday in the UK and as a digital download. Click here for more details.