Leeds coach appointed head coach of USARL Hawks

Brian McDermott

Just another accolade to add to his already impressive coaching career, current Leeds head coach Brian McDermott will embark on a challenge of a different kind, appointed the head coach of the USARL Hawks side.

In their bid to qualify for the 2017 World Cup, the Hawks went all out to get an experienced, veteran coach on board and McDermott cannot wait for the opportunity ahead of him.

“I am honored to be appointed Head Coach of the USA Hawks,” said McDermott.

“We saw in 2013 the impact the USA team can have on the international Rugby League game and that is something that excites me as a passionate Rugby League fan and coach.

“The main task is to qualify for the 2017 World Cup. But along that journey I hope to have an influence over the development of players coming through and have an input into the broader coaching network in the USA.”

The States are not a new destination for McDermott, as he has worked with the players in the area before and he knows those already at the club will play a huge role in shaping the Hawks side moving forward.

“Having had first hand experience of working with the players in the States, I have been impressed with their attitude, athleticism and commitment to Rugby League and that gives us strong foundations to build on,” said McDermott.

“I am looking forward to working with Spinner Howland, Peter Illfield and Sean Rutgerson and for my own personal development; I am looking forward to the challenge of working with a new group of players during the Rhinos off season.”

Recently, the Leeds Rhinos took coaching camps and matches to Jacksonville, Florida and it was that experience that USARL Chairman Peter Illfield thought had primed McDermott for the role.

“Brian has a ready-made relationship with the USA bringing his Leeds Rhinos to coaching camps and matches in Jacksonville, Florida, the most recent in January this year,” said Illfield.

“His record speaks for itself with his experience and professionalism providing our American players with valued knowledge of the game”.

Joining McDermott will be former player and current personal trainer and NRL accredited coach, Sean Rutgerson.

Sean is also familiar with the American landscape, having played and coached at the Jacksonville Axemen. Illfield is pleased to have someone of his calibre on board within their system.

“Sean too has a relationship with us when he played with and coached the Jacksonville Axemen in 2009,” said Illfield.

“He comes recommended by Daryl “Spinner” Howland, owner of the Axemen, and so we also welcome Sean and his expertise to the Hawks coaching staff as well.”

Rutgerson is well aware of the budding, growing nature of rugby league in America and his time with the Axemen in 2009 introduced him to their development and commitment to the sport.

“I’m really excited to be part of the Hawks and the new set-up going on with Rugby League in the USA,” said Rutgerson.

“I am stoked to be selected as assistant coach and strength and conditioning coach. My season with the Axemen in 2009 gave me great insight into the level of athlete produced in the states, and I know the potential Rugby League has as it grows in popularity.

I can’t wait to get back over there and start training.”

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