Leeds Rhinos Chief Executive Gary Hetherington has spoken of his admiration for his side’s Head Coach Brian McClennan following the launch of a new book which charts the success of the club over the past three years.
The Rhinos became the first side in the Super League era to win three Championships in a row back in October and the new book, entitled The History Makers, looks at all aspects of the club during that period.
In 2006, Leeds were humiliated at the hands of Warrington in the first weekend of the play offs however they have gone on to win the next three titles. The following year then Head Coach Tony Smith announced he was leaving the club at the end of the season to become national coach.
For the first time Hetherington reveals the process he went through to appoint McClennan, an appointment that was seen in some quarters as being a risk because the Kiwi had never coached in the NRL or Super League previously.
Hetherington revealed, “The appointment of a new coach, especially in mid-season, will inevitably create plenty of speculation and has the potential to distract attention. It has to be managed sensitively and we made a statement at the outset that no comment would be made until the selection process was complete and no timescale would be placed on it. Confidentiality is crucial to the success of the operation.
“I have always valued my friendship with Wayne Bennett and Shane Richardson in Australia and they were among the first to be contacted.
“I was pleased to hear from Brian McClennan’s representative, Peter Brown who is based in Auckland and made an impassioned plea to give serious consideration to Bluey. I had never met Brian, but I had heard good things about him and his success with the Kiwis at the highest level was impressive.
“Brian McClennan is not only a good technical coach, but he has an infectious passion for his players and the team to do well that brings out the best in everyone. First and foremost he is a Rugby League man and he wants the best for the game, he cares about the code’s heritage and its future,” revealed Hetherington.