‘Who gives a s**t what I want to say?’ – Ex-Leeds Rhinos and Featherstone Rovers boss Brian McDermott on making ‘every error known to man’ during rugby league coaching career

BRIAN MCDERMOTT is one of the most successful head coaches ever in rugby league.

Four Super League Grand Final titles, one World Club Challenge success and two Challenge Cup victories later at the Leeds Rhinos and McDermott is now an NRL assistant coach at the Newcastle Knights following a short spell with Toronto Wolfpack and Featherstone Rovers.

But, before taking the job at Leeds in 2010, McDermott was head coach of the London Broncos where the veteran admitted he made a number of mistakes.

“I was at Leeds Rhinos as an assistant coach first and then I became head coach at London Broncos for four-and-a-half to five years and cut my teeth as a head coach down there,” McDermott told the KnightsHQ Podcast.

“I probably made every error known to man but it goes under the radar because they’re outside the hub of where all the press and media is.

“You get to find out what coaching is about though. Everyone has an idea as an assistant of how you should play, pick a team and manage press and all that stuff but you become a head coach and I describe it as putting on different glasses.

“It just gives you a clarity of what you’re seeing, more so than an assistant. When you put these glasses on and all eyes are on you, it just gives you a real poignant focus on how you pick a team or when you’re addressing your players.”

McDermott also learned that players needed to hear different things than what he perhaps wanted to say at times.

“When I did that at London it was a shock to me in regards to how much it mattered what you said. What I wanted to say is very different to what the players needed to hear,” McDermott continued.

“What do I want to say? Well who gives a s**t what I want to say, what do the players need to hear?

“You need to put your ego away, so by the time I got to Leeds I’d got some runs on the board as head coach but I also knew it was a different kind of coaching.

“It became about managing personalities.”

Now McDermott’s task will be to help Adam O’Brien inspire confidence at Newcastle after a disappointing 2022 NRL season.