Exclusive: Brett Delaney reveals which coach has surprised him and outlines why he left Leeds Rhinos to join York City Knights

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Brett Delaney is set to be part of the York City Knights set-up in 2022 after joining James Ford as assistant coach.

And, the former Leeds Rhinos star – who played almost a decade at Headingley – has revealed just how the route into coaching came about.

“I spoke to Kevin Sinfield and told him I wanted to get back into the game somehow so I asked him if I could help out at Leeds,” Delaney told Serious About Rugby League.

“Obviously Mark Butterrill is the head of scholarship down there, I knew him down there from when I was playing.

“I went down there and started with him and Rob Burrow was doing the academy then – I wanted to give back to the club I had great memories at and help the next generation through.

“Mark taught me so much, you quickly find out that coaching is a lot different to playing!

“The time and effort they put into me, anything I was able to ask, and in those three years I was joining in between the academy and scholarship.”

Delaney has also revealed that he harbours ambitions to be coaching in Super League one day.

“Every player looks for that next chapter in life and that bit of a buzz that gets you going again.

“I was working at the Leeds Foundation at the time but I wasn’t really doing anything else, but as soon as I got the first session out of the way I got a good buzz from that.

“You’ve got to hone your craft and I just wanted to do it right, start at the bottom and work my way up.

“Hopefully one day I will be in Super League, that’s my ultimate goal but I don’t know when that time will be.

“That’s why you go into coaching – some coaches like developing young talent and they are really good at that.”

The 36-year-old Australian has settled in well at York, but has been taken aback by just how good it has been working under James Ford – someone who, Delaney admits, he had not heard too much about prior to his move.

“I got introduced to Jon Flatman – the former York owner – last season by a mutual friend.

“I had a chat with him and just thought I’d put myself out there as I’d done scholarship for three years, so the next step was probably an assistant job somewhere in the Championship or League 1.

“I rang Jon and asked if there was any opportunity and he got in touch with Fordy and me and Fordy had a meeting and it developed there over time.

“I’ve got to give them credit for taking me on – I didn’t know James Ford before, but he’s blown me away with how good he is.

“I’ve been in the system for 20 years, I’ve been under Brian Smith, and Bryce Cartwright, but James Ford is unbelievable, I’m learning so much off him.

“I’ve been under a number of coaches and he’s right up there with the best, he’s so organised with how training is run.

“It’s a really good environment, the team is massive on working together and coming to a new club that stood really out.

“They are a young, hungry group and it’s been great to watch – I couldn’t ask for a better club, the facilities are superb and it’s blown me away.”

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