Ex-Leeds Rhinos boss keen to understand the difference between NRL and Super League as he describes NRL as “the best”

Former Leeds Rhinos and Featherstone Rovers coach Brian McDermott will take on a new challenge in the NRL in 2023.

He joins the Newcastle Knights and Adam O’Brien for the new season and believes it is a step up from Super League as he takes his first steps into “the best competition” the NRL.

He is keen to learn the difference between Australian rugby, which yields World Cup after World Cup, and the English.

He said on the club website: “I’m fascinated to see the difference because for decades in England we’ve asked ‘what is the difference?’

“It’s been a big learning curve for me, I didn’t have a big master plan to be a coach. I think it takes you out of your comfort zone, it is a brutally honest tradition and if you’re not genuine then players will sus you out within 12 hours.”

He also explained how the move came about:

“I had a conversation with Adam some weeks ago before the job was confirmed, I spoke to him on zoom and there was a connection instantly some of his philosophies so we carried on speaking and as things panned out there was an opportunity and I was on the plane instantly.

“I can sense that pressure and expectation.”

It is also likely that one of his former Leeds Rhinos players Danny Buderus, who is a legend at Newcastle, played a part.

When asked about his previous experiences with the Knights, McDermott was clearly thinking of when he and his Bradford Bulls beat the Knights but said Buderus told him not to mention it:

“I’ve got one good memory but I’m not allowed to mention it, Danny Buderus has warned me not to mention it.”

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