Leeds head coach Brian McClennan has stepped down from his position and will be replaced by Brian McDermott.
McDermott joined the club from Harlequins at the end of the season in an assistant capacity, but will now take up the top job following McClennan’s departure.
The Kiwi was widely expected to stand aside at the end of 2011 to be replaced by the former Bradford prop, but the move has now come a year earlier than expected.
Leeds chief executive Gary Hetherington explained: “To better understand this decision, we have to go back to mid-way through last season when Brian McClennan was considering another 1-year extension offer for 2011. After a lot of thought, Brian opted for what would be his last year in 2011 and it was decided then to try and identify his successor.
“Brian McDermott was the choice of Brian and myself and he was appointed to come in for 2011 as Brian’s number two before taking over in 2012.
“Brian McClennan now feels the time is right for him to stand down and accelerate the handover to Brian McDermott. Brian McClennan and I have spent a lot of time recently discussing this and I have to say, losing Brian is not something I wanted to hear, but I understand his decision and he will leave after 3 great years and as one of the most popular and influential characters ever to serve the club.
“We’re fortunate to have someone of Brian McDermott’s ability and experience to take over. Brian is one of the most talented young English Coaches in the game and we believe he is the right man to oversee the next stage in the Rhinos development. He is very familiar with the culture and expectations at the Rhinos.”
During his tenure, McClennan guided Leeds to two Super League Grand Final victories, in 2008 and 2009, and also won the 2008 World Club Challenge in his first season in charge of the club.