Brian McDermott has been sacked by Leeds Rhinos after seven consecutive Super League defeats.
Results at the weekend, including the Rhinos’ 46-8 loss at Wigan, saw them drop down to 8th in the table as the possibility of the 2017 champions missing out on a Super 8’s spot grew stronger.
That proved to be the final straw for McDermott, who was the longest serving coach in Super League having been at Leeds since the start of the 2011 season, and the club’s CEO Gary Hetherington is now on the search for a long-term successor.
During his seven-and-a-half years with the Rhinos, 48-year-old McDermott became their most successful coach in history by winning 4 Super League titles, 2 Challenge Cups, 1 World Club Challenge and League Leaders’ Shield, as well as leading them to their first ever treble in 2015.
The Rhinos were also runners-up in the 2011 and 2012 Challenge Cup finals and in the 2013, 2016 and 2018 World Club Challenge’s, meaning McDermott took Leeds to a major final in every year of his tenure.
However, the 2018 season has been hugely disappointing for Leeds who have won just 7 of 19 league games and are in danger of ending the season with a relegation battle in the Qualifiers for a second time in three seasons, a situation which has convinced those on the board that now is the correct time for change.
On the decision to end Leeds’ association with McDermott, Gary Hetherington told the Rhinos website: “It is always disappointing to announce the departure of someone who has contributed so much to our club’s success and Brian McDermott has certainly done that. The clubs most successful coach has also helped to forge a rugby operation with toughness, resilience and a strong desire to succeed, which his successor will inherit. That search will now begin in earnest.
“Eight years is a long time for any Head Coach at the same club and we have enjoyed much success and endured some difficult times along the way when tough decisions had to be made. We have always come through strongly but I do believe our present predicament requires change and that this is the right call for the club.
“Brian is a man of the utmost integrity and passion for Rugby League. He has so much to offer the sport and I have no doubt he will go on to achieve more success in the future. Leeds Rhinos will be forever indebted to his contribution”.
Commenting on his departure, a clearly dejected McDermott said: “I am extremely disappointed this has happened and obviously it is not a decision I agree with. I wish everyone at the club the best and my thoughts will be with the team on Sunday and through to the end of the season.”
There are currently no clear candidates to take the hot-seat at Headingley, although it is likely the Rhinos will want to get something sorted sooner rather than later with a crucial end to the regular season and a Challenge Cup semi-final coming up.
Who do you think should replace Brian McDermott at Leeds? Let us know in the comments below.