Super League coaches during their playing days

We’ve had a delve through the archives (in some cases unsuccessfully!) to find the current Super League coaches in their playing days.

Brian McDermott

The Leeds coach, now 47, spent his entire career with West Yorkshire rivals Bradford, making more than 250 appearances, including the above – a 2001 Challenge Cup final defeat to St Helens.

Denis Betts

One of the most decorated players ever, Betts won it all during his playing days at Wigan, including six Championships, seven Challenge Cups, three Premierships, two World Club Challenges as well as the Lance Todd and Man of Steel personal gongs. He didn’t win in the match above though – a Charity Shield defeat to his current club Widnes in 1989.

Ian Watson

A number of Super League coaches played for their current team too. One of those is Ian Watson, who started his career at Salford in 1995, returned for a season in 2002 and played for a number of clubs in National League One, including Widnes, Leigh and Halifax. Here he is lining up a conversion in a Challenge Cup win against Castleford on 1997.

Justin Holbrook

A bloody Justin Holbrook scores a try for Penrith Panthers against Sydney Roosters in the NRL back in 2001. The St Helens coach scored four tries in 17 appearances in the top flight in his playing days, featuring at half-back and hooker.

Lee Radford

At 38, the youngest coach in Super League and one who already has two Challenge Cup wins to his name. During his playing days at Bradford, he won two Super League titles, a Challenge Cup and a World Club Challenge. The try above was against Wigan in the 2003 Challenge Cup semi-finals, Bradford went on to win that game and indeed the trophy that year.

Daryl Powell

Above is Powell playing for Great Britain against Australia at Elland Road back in 1994. Powell won 31 caps for Great Britain and England, playing in the 1995 World Cup final. He also played in a Super League Grand Final for Leeds, a loss to Wigan in 1998.

Steve McNamara

The underfire Catalans boss made almost 300 appearances for Hull, Bradford, Wakefield and Huddersfield before hanging up his boots in 2003, scoring more than 1200 points. The photo above comes from a match between Hull and Leeds back in 1990.

Chris Chester

The second youngest coach in Super League played against his current club Wakefield for three different clubs – Wigan, Hull and Hull KR, having started his career at Halifax.

Tim Sheens

The oldest coach in Super League is Hull KR’s Tim Sheens, at 67. He became a club legend at Penrith, playing 166 games as a ball-playing prop having started off as a back-rower. Now we couldn’t find one from his playing days, but we did find the above where Sheens is being chaired up by Glenn Lazarus and Mal Meninga after winning the 1989 NSWRL Grand Final between Canberra Raiders and Balmain Tigers.

That leaves us missing Huddersfield coach Rick Stone, who made just three NRL appearances for South Sydney back in 1989, and Warrington boss Steve Price, who played 12 games for St George and Balmain before having his playing career cut short by knee injuries.

And this was our face when we couldn’t find a playing photo of Wigan chief Shaun Wane in the archives.


  1. Who could not find any footage of shan wane playing rugby he only played hundreds of games for Wigan and Leeds appearing in the first world club champion game challenge cup finals premiership finals John player finals Lancashire cup finals where the he’ll were you looking

    • Hi Len, we have deals with three photo agencies and unfortunately none of them had any stills of Wane from his playing days, sadly.

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