Brian McDermott has this ‘regret’ about the past

Brian McDermott won it all as head coach of the Leeds Rhinos.

But, following his exit from Headingley in 2018, McDermott went to the Toronto Wolfpack.

Having earned promotion to Super League at the end of 2019, McDermott had a few controversial things to say.

“Toronto’s a mega sporting city. You’ve got the Raptors, the Maple Leafs, the Blue Jays, Toronto FC, the Argonauts and we’re part of that,” McDermott said.

“We hope to have a higher profile now we’re on a bigger stage.

“Super League needs to be able to sell a final to some potential investors or a TV deal which says ‘it’s going to be competed for by big city teams’.

“Because in five years time if the Super League or Challenge Cup Final is still competed by some small towns from the North of England, while it’s a brilliant story, where we’re going to sell that to is the interesting point.

“So if in five years we’re sat around a table with the TV deals and mega sponsors and we’re saying ‘look, one of our teams starts with Toronto, and the name of the other team starts with London or Barcelona or New York’ – that’s how the growth of the game goes.

“I know there’s a few people opposed to us being in the competition but we can’t please everybody.”

When asked about his previous comments at his unveiling as Featherstone Rovers boss, McDermott admitted that he regretted making such statements.

“I didn’t say the sport can only have teams from big cities,” he started.

“What I said was that for the growth of the game, the answer has got to be with something different. I think I was really clear about what I said.

“I have a regret about that day, that I used that platform to say that, and I shouldn’t have done that, especially after we’d beaten Featherstone in a Grand Final. It could be perceived as disrespectful but it wasn’t meant as disrespectful.

“I actually said what Ryan Carr did as a coach after finishing fifth; I’ve done that myself, it takes a huge amount of effort and I was making a point that he had done a great job making a Grand Final and that if everyone wanted to know how to run a great club or what a good coach looks like, go look at Featherstone and Ryan Carr and I say today that they deserve a huge amount of credit for what they’ve done over the last ten years.

“You’re talking about the context of how you grow the game and I was asked if I thought Toronto Wolfpack would help grow the game, and I talk retrospectively about the last 25 years of Super League, has the game grown?

“I maintain the same, I think the growth of the game lies somewhere else now.”

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