Newcastle Knights boss watched YouTube podcast about Brian McDermott before appointing him

Newcastle Knights head coach Adam O’Brien has revealed that a podcast he watched involving Brian McDermott led to his and the club’s interest in him.

McDermott was announced as the Knights’ new assistant coach on Friday as part of an overhaul of the club’s backroom staff ahead of the 2023 NRL season.

And speaking about the appointment of McDermott, O’Brien revealed in a press conference just how the move for Super League’s most successful coach came about.

“I met him in 2012 when the World Club Challenge was in Australia,” said O’Brien. “I remember thinking that his team play how Brian is – his character came out in his team.

“I have always admired him from afar. There is actually a podcast around Brian on YouTube about resilience and toughness and I thought that this guy knows what he’s about.

“When Willie (Peters) got the job (as Hull KR head coach) in England I was really set on bringing in some experience to help me and help everyone, so yeah we reached out.

“We have had plenty of long discussions, emails and Zoom calls with Mac. He is just the right fit for us and I’m really excited to bring him on board.”

O’Brien went on to explain that he feel McDermott’s no-nonsense approach will be beneficial to the Knights next season, after the club underwhelmingly finished 14th in 2022.

“Anyone who is not familiar with Brian, it won’t take you long to get to know what sort of man he is,” O’Brien added. “I met him a long time ago now when he was with Leeds.

“What you see is what you get with him. He will be very strong culturally with standards. He will be great for our group. He’s a man’s man.

“He will be great for me. Adding a guy with his experience, someone I can bounce things off, will only be beneficial.”

At present McDermott is involved in coaching Fiji at the Rugby League World Cup in England, with O’Brien expecting his new assistant coach to arrive shortly.

“I expect him to come over at the completion of Fiji in the World Cup. He’s with those guys and there will be things to sort with Visas and stuff like that.

“I’m not sure of the exact timeframe but he is invested already, I have spent a lot of nights talking to Mac already.”

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