What is it with Brian McClennan getting replaced by terrible coaches?
When he departed from The New Zealand international side, he was replaced by Gary Kemble who turned out to be the worse coach the Kiwis have had for a long time. Last year he left Leeds Rhinos and was replaced by Brian McDermott, who has carried on just where he left off at Harlequins. Both coaches that have replaced Brian McClennan have turned out to be blind faith misjudgements by whoever appointed them.
In the Rhinos case it’s Gary Hetherington who really should know better. The last two coaches he appointed in Brian McClennan and Tony Smith were appointed on the back of success. Tony Smith turned Huddersfield from bottom table fodder to a bottom table team that had a future, and they have since gone on to do better things. Brian McClennan was our best coach yet, thanks to his amazing success in the New Zealand leagues and then going on to doing things internationally like winning the tri-nations with New Zealand in 2005.
Now neither Tony Smith nor Brian McClennan were perfect. They both went at the right time and both probably made the odd wrong decision. I was pulling my hair out throughout 2006, and most of 2007, watching the Rhinos under Tony Smith. Then Brian McClennan came in and Leeds Rhinos were playing some terrific stuff at the start of his tenure. In fact the weeks prior to the 2008 World Club Challenge for me were when Leeds played some of the best rugby. When we beat Melbourne Storm, I experienced one of the best feelings ever as a fan.
In 2009 Brian McClennan guided Leeds to their third title in a row and at the time people were saying that the fourth Superleague Grand Final victory in a row was inevitable. Unfortunately things started to turn really sour in 2010 and the Happy Go Lucky attitude of the team faded away. Leeds got far too complacent in the league against so called ‘lower opposition’ and only seemed to get themselves up for matches that suited. The highlight of 2010 was without doubt the Challenge Cup win which demonstrated that this Leeds team is well and truly capable of competing with the best.
The end of 2010 was the right time for Brian McClennan to go because things needed to change. Instead of looking for a top class coach we drag in a former assistant coach whose departure from Harlequins was welcomed with open arms by their fans. He’s now here and doing the same to us in what he did to them. The only benefits I can see from this is that we’ve got British coach who’s been good at developing young talent. But I’m sorry but developing young talent isn’t the first team coach’s job.
The future of the Rhinos has been put at the expense of the present. We should have brought someone in who could bring glory to this team once again. I want to see the likes of McGuire, Burrow and Sinfield lift up another trophy before they retire. I just can’t see it happening under Brian McDermott. He is Leeds Rhinos very own Gary Kemble.
Anyone else see the similarity?