Ranking the longest-serving coaches in Super League: How do Leeds, Wigan, St Helens, Warrington bosses fare?

Drew Darbyshire
Rohan Smith, Matty Peet, Paul Wellens

Super League coaches Rohan Smith, Matty Peet and Paul Wellens

We take a look at the longest-serving coaches of all 12 Super League clubs, starting from newest to oldest.

The Super League was formed back in 1996, with St Helens and Leeds Rhinos among the competition’s most-successful sides.

The annual quest to be the best has seen Saints lift the trophy a total of 10 times, with Leeds next best with eight triumphs to their name.

Wigan Warriors are the third-most successful side, winning the competition on six occasions. Former Super League side Bradford Bulls, who dominated the competition early in its inception, have four wins.

Super League clubs are not known for changing their coaches as frequently as perhaps seen in Premier League football.

Nonetheless, the elite teams are under pressure to deliver success with coaches judged on their teams’ performances.

With that in mind, here is a list of the current longest-serving coaches in Super League…

12th: Craig Lingard, Castleford Tigers

Lingard is the newest head coaching appointment in Super League. The former Batley boss was appointed as Castleford head coach on October 17, 2023, assisted by Danny McGuire.

11th: Sam Burgess, Warrington Wolves

The Great Britain and England legend was appointed the new Warrington new head coach on August 7 on a two-year contract from 2024. His contract is likely to have officially started on November 1 – just like Lingard’s deal.

10th: Mike Eccles, London Broncos

The 38-year-old, who hails from Leigh, took on the director of rugby and performance role at London on September 11, 2022, following a successful job as interim boss.

9th: Paul Wellens, St Helens

Saints legend Wellens was named the club’s coach on October 5, 2022, succeeding Kristian Woolf at the Totally Wicked Stadium.

8th: Tony Smith, Hull FC

Super League legend Smith has clocked up over 600 matches in charge of various clubs over the years, including spells at Huddersfield, Leeds, Warrington, Hull KR and now Hull FC.

The Aussie took charge at the Black and Whites on September 10, 2022.

7th: Willie Peters, Hull KR

The Aussie was appointed coach of the Robins on September 4, 2022.

6th: Rohan Smith, Leeds Rhinos

The nephew of Super League legend Tony Smith, Rohan Smith took charge of the Rhinos on April 20, 2022. The former Bradford Bulls coach succeeded Richard Agar at Headingley.

5th: Adrian Lam, Leigh Leopards

The former Sydney Roosters and Wigan Warriors star took charge of the Leopards on November 17, 2021, leading them to promotion in the Million Pound Game against Batley Bulldogs. Previous coaching roles include Wigan.

4th: Paul Rowley, Salford Red Devils

Leigh-born Rowley took charge of Salford on November 5, 2021, succeeding Richard Marshall in the hotseat.

3rd: Matt Peet, Wigan Warriors

Peet was named Wigan coach on October 5, 2021, stepping into one of Super League’s biggest roles as a replacement for Adrian Lam.

Initially serving as assistant coach, he has previous experience in rugby union, working as Sale Sharks’ high performance manager.

2nd: Ian Watson, Huddersfield Giants

Salford-born Watson was named Huddersfield coach on November 19, 2020. His previous roles include Swinton Lions and the Salford Red Devils.

1st: Steve McNamara, Catalans Dragons

Far and away the longest-serving coach of a Super League club, former England and Bradford coach McNamara took charge of the French side on June 19, 2017.

One of the most respected names around, the Hull-born coach also has held assistant coaching positions at the Sydney Roosters and the New Zealand Warriors in the NRL.

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