Barrie McDermott hails the ‘best player of the Super League era’

Drew Darbyshire
Barrie McDermott Sky Sports SWpix

Photo: Mark Cosgrove/News Images

Barrie McDermott played in some phenomenal teams with some phenomenal players during his career, but there is one that stands above the rest.

The Oldham-born powerhouse played in Leeds teams featuring the likes of Kevin Sinfield, Keith Senior, Danny McGuire, Rob Burrow and Jamie Peacock.

On the international stage, McDermott played in a stacked Ireland side alongside the likes of Terry O’Connor, Chris Joynt and Luke Ricketson.

But there is one player who he believes is the best player of the Super League era in the shape of Andy Farrell, who he played alongside at Wigan and for Great Britain.

McDermott, now working as a pundit for Sky Sports, was asked by Jon Wilkin who was the best captain he played under during his career on this week’s episode of The Bench Podcast.

“I played with some brilliant captains,” McDermott said. “I always say two of them…

“Andy Farrell, for me, is still the best player of the Super League era because he could outthink you, outwork you and he had skills.

“He could outfight you as well, he was as tough as teak!

“Kevin Sinfield has gone on to do wonderful things post career as has Faz in the world of rugby union with Ireland.

“Andy Farrell is probably the world’s best rugby union coach now so always those two stick in my mind and I always picked up a lot from them.”

Barrie McDermott on what makes Farrell and Sinfield so influential

Farrell, a two-time Man of Steel winner, made more than 300 appearances for hometown club Wigan as well as winning 35 caps for Great Britain and England.

Farrell won seven Premierships with the Warriors as well as six Challenge Cups before crossing codes to rugby union in 2005.

Sinfield, meanwhile, won seven Super League Grand Finals and two Challenge Cups with Leeds. He made more than 500 appearances for the Rhinos before finishing his career in rugby union in 2016.

“Their influence on me as an individual and their influence on us as a team,” McDermott replied to Wilkin on The Bench when asked about what makes Farrell and Sinfield so influential.

“Andy wouldn’t ask anybody to do anything that he couldn’t do and likewise with Kev.

“I first met Kev when he was around 12 or 13 years of age, we don’t live too far from each other. I knew his family and his dad and I knew he was an impressive man from day dot.

“He came in to the first team squad at 16 or 17 and everyone was already looking at him in the changing room with the way he held himself and the way he went about his day.

“When he was a young man, people as they do say things like ‘he’s going to be the captain of his country’, he always had that over his head really, but that didn’t burden him – it drove him and inspired him.

“What Kev had was presence and he has still got that now.”

Click here to listen to the full episode of The Bench, featuring newly-appointed England captain Jodie Cunningham.

McDermott is running the Rob Burrow Leeds Marathon on May 14 to raise funds and awareness for the MND Association to support his good friend and former team-mate.

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