Steve McNamara and the 4 longest-serving coaches in Super League history

Drew Darbyshire
Shaun Wane, Steve McNamara, Brian McDermott Super League's longest-serving coaches Alamy

Shaun Wane (left), Steve McNamara (centre) and Brian McDermott (right) are amongst the longest-serving coaches in Super League history

Catalans Dragons head coach Steve McNamara is currently the longest serving head coach in Super League, and has recently extended his stay in Perpignan.

The 52-year-old has just entered his eighth season with the French club, having taken over the head coaching reins back in 2017.

In February, McNamara signed a new contract to extend his stay with the Dragons until the end of the 2026 campaign, which, if he sees out the contract, will see him become the longest-serving head coach in the Super League era. With that in mind, Love Rugby League takes a dive into the stats on the longest-serving head coaches in Super League history..

5. Steve McNamara (Catalans Dragons, 82 months, 2017-present)

Steve McNamara Catalans Dragons Alamy

The former England boss has been in charge of Catalans Dragons for 82 months now. He is currently the longest-serving head coach in Super League by some distance, with Huddersfield’s Ian Watson in second having been in charge of the Giants since November 2020.

McNamara has helped transform the Dragons, who just managed to avoid relegation from Super League in 2017 by winning the Million Pound Game.

Since then, Catalans have enjoyed huge progress on and off the field. In 2018, they clinched their first piece of major silverware as they lifted the Challenge Cup at Wembley by beating Warrington Wolves 20-14 under the famous arch.

The Dragons went on to clinch their first League Leaders’ Shield in 2021, followed by their maiden Grand Final appearance that year, losing narrowly to St Helens at Old Trafford.

Catalans picked up their second League Leaders’ Shield in 2023, again appearing in the Grand Final, losing to Wigan Warriors.

Should McNamara remain Catalans coach at the end of his contract in 2026, he will be the longest-serving head coach in the competition’s history.

4. Shaun Wane (Wigan Warriors, 84 months, 2011-2018)

Shaun Wane Wigan Warriors Alamy

Wane spent eight seasons in charge of Wigan Warriors between 2011 and 2018.

The 59-year-old, who succeeded Michael Maguire in the role, won 161 of his 238 matches as head coach of the Warriors.

Wane won three Super League titles, a League Leaders’ Shield, two Challenge Cups and a World Club Challenge as coach of his hometown club.

He is currently the head coach of the England national team and is also leadership and management director of the Warriors.

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3. Brian McDermott (Leeds Rhinos, 92 months, 2011-2018)

Brian McDermott Leeds Rhinos Alamy

The former Great Britain international was head coach of Leeds Rhinos during the same period Wane was at Wigan, spending eight seasons at Headingley between 2011 and 2018.

McDermott won 162 out of his 265 games in charge of the Rhinos. He guided Leeds to four Super League titles, a League Leaders’ Shield, two Challenge Cups and a World Club Challenge.

McDermott was coach of Harlequins prior to his appointment at Leeds and then coached Toronto Wolfpack and Featherstone Rovers after his time at Headingley. He is currently an assistant coach in the NRL with Newcastle Knights.

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2. Daryl Powell (Castleford Tigers, 100 months, 2013-2021)

Daryl Powell Castleford Tigers Alamy

Powell took charge of Castleford Tigers in 2013, going on to spend nine years with the club, transforming them into Super League title contenders.

The 58-year-old won 129 of his 219 games in charge. He was named Super League’s Coach of the Year in 2014 after guiding Cas to their first Wembley appearance for 20 years and their highest league position since Super League began.

2017 was one of the club’s greatest ever seasons. The Tigers won the League Leaders’ Shield for the first time in their history and reached the Grand Final, losing to Leeds at Old Trafford.

Powell went on to coach Warrington after departing the Tigers, and is currently the head coach of Championship heavyweights Wakefield Trinity.

1. Tony Smith (Warrington Wolves, 102 months, 2009-2017)

Tony Smith Warrington Wolves Alamy

The veteran coach has spent more than two decades coaching the British game, having taken up his first role in England back in 2001 with Huddersfield.

The largest chunk of Smith’s coaching career came at Warrington Wolves, spending nine seasons in charge at the Halliwell Jones Stadium between 2009 and 2017.

Smith took charge of 301 games as Warrington coach, winning 200. He guided the Wire to three Challenge Cup final victories and two League Leaders’ Shields. The Wolves also reached three Grand Finals during Smith’s tenure.

The Australian is currently head coach of Hull FC, having been in the role since September 2022.

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