Warriors Announce Former Test Coach As Cleary’s Replacement
The New Zealand Warriors have announced that former Kiwi test coach Brian McClennan will replace Ivan Cleary as the clubs head coach next season.
The Warriors have secured McClennan on a two year deal after current coach Ivan Cleary committed to the Panthers for the 2012 season.
McClennan led the Leeds Rhinos to the back to back English Super League premierships in 2008 and 2009, and Warriors chief Wayne Scurrah said he was the prefect replacement for the outgoing Cleary.
“It’s fantastic for us as a club, for our members and all fans that we’ve been able to appoint Brian as our new coach,” Scurrah said.
“Brian came through as the most suitable candidate. He has outstanding results with every team he has been involved with, be it the Kiwis, the Leeds Rhinos or clubs in Auckland and we’re delighted one of the best coaches in New Zealand rugby league history is to be the next coach of the Warriors.”
McClennan coached the New Zealand test side between 2005 and 2007, with his best result undoubtedly coming in New Zealand’s memorable 24-0 thrashing of Australia in the final of the 2005 tri-series.
“I can remember when I was announced as Kiwi coach, a lot of people thought I wouldn’t be able to do it. I got that done, then it was the same At Leeds Rhinos. I can remember some reporters giving it to me a bit about not being able to handle it, and I went there and got it done,” McClennan said.
“I’ve learnt from those experiences that, at the end of the day, it is still a game of footy and, if you really work hard, then the rest will take care of itself.”
And McClennan is setting his sights high for the 2012 season and will be looking to join the likes of Michael Hagan and Ricky Stuart as coaches who have been able to win a premiership in their first full season as a coach in the NRL.
“I’ll be honest and straight up – every year I go into as the coach of the team – we are shooting for the top. I don’t see the point in trying to come eighth or sixth or fourth. I think every year we will be going for the top,” he said.
In other news on the NRL coaching front, Bulldogs CEO Todd Greenberg has confirmed that the Bellmore club will make an approach to Ricky Stuart about taking on the coaches role next season.
“Despite everything I have seen and read about Ricky being a done deal and that sort of stuff, it is so far from the truth it is not funny. We haven’t had a discussion with him yet, but we will – among a number of other candidates as well,” Greenberg said.
Those other candidates are thought to be current caretaker Jim Dymock, Bradford’s Mick Potter, former Dragons coach Nathan Brown and Castleford’s Terry Matterson. Kevin Walters and Michael Hagan have also been mentioned as possible replacements.
Traditionally the Bulldogs have selected coaches who have strong ties to the club. In fact it has been 24 years since the Bulldogs employed a coach (Warren Ryan) that didn’t play for the club at some stage. Stuart finished his career at the Bulldogs and also coached their Jersey Flegg side to a premiership in 2001, however Greenberg said that the club would not necessarily limit his search to those who have been involved with the club at one stage or another.
“We need to find the best available candidate for the job and if he has got ties to the club then fantastic, but we want the best person for the job, as simple as that.” Greenberg said.
If Stuart takes the job at the Bulldogs it is believed he will have to stand down as coach of the New South Wales origin side, as both the Bulldogs and the Blues want a coach who will be solely focused on one job.