Taking me out of my comfort zone: Brian McDermott eager to test himself in NRL

Taking me out of my comfort zone: Brian McDermott eager to test himself in NRL

Brian McDermott might have won four Super League titles as a coach, but he is embracing being taking out of his comfort zone in the NRL.

The 52-year-old has taken up an assistant coaching role with Newcastle Knights. He will be Adam O’Brien’s right-hand man in 2023.

McDermott is the most successful coach of the Super League era, but he says the NRL is a different beast.

“I think any Englishman wants to test himself against the best competition which is the NRL,” McDermott told the newcastleknights.com.au.

“I never got the chance to do that as a player but as a coach I’ve got an opportunity.

“It’ll certainly take me out of my comfort zone. Some of the things I think might work or might have worked in the past – that might not be the case in the NRL – so I’ve got to work out what those are.

“I’m fascinated more than anything to find out what those differences are because for decades in England we’ve looked about what the difference is. Obviously you can see some visual differences but some of the bits that we don’t get to see, especially the preparation.”

Brian McDermott on his relationship with Adam O’Brien

McDermott said he and Knights head coach O’Brien clicked straight away when talking through their coaching philosophies and structures.

“I had a conversation with Adam some weeks back,” he added.

“I’ve been in contract with him for a while before the job was confirmed. We spoke to each other on Zoom and there was a connection there instantly.

“Some of his philosophies about how we play and how you coach – we had an alignment there. We carried on speaking and as things panned out there was an opportunity that was offered and I was pretty much on the plane as soon as we could get out here.”

The Knights have confirmed the signings of young English duo Will Pryce (Huddersfield) and Kai Pearce-Paul (Wigan) on two-year deals from 2024.

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