5th July 2018, 11:14 | steve_mascord

WE GOT ISSUES: Brian McDermott

WE GOT ISSUES: Brian McDermott

By Steve Mascord

WE constantly read that coaches “live and die by results” - but do they?

Firstly, of course, the entire suggestion is hyperbole. Hopefully even a decade of wooden spoons wouldn’t actually kill a coach. It might leave him or her on welfare but you would expect there to be unemployment benefits or a soup kitchen somewhere nearby.

But if coaches ‘live’ and ‘die’ by results, how can the coach of the current Super League champions be sacked two-thirds of the way through a title defence?

The whole concept of results being the sole determinant of a coach’s tenure is clearly just plain wrong. It's rubbish.

As colleague Brian Carney points out on a superbly argued opinion piece over at Sky Sports, Brian McDermott won two Challenge Cups, four Super League titles and a World Club Challenge during eight years in charge at Headingley.

Wayne Bennett has lifted seven premierships and that’s in 32 years!

I am put in mind of another former Rhinos coach, the great Graham Murray. He took Sydney Roosters to the finals in 2001 but was still sacked two days after the end of that season. The year before that, the tricolours had been in the grand final.

Why do these things happen? If not results, what possible reasons can there be?

Brian Carney asked the question: if Brian McDermott has proven his ability lift his team out of trouble, from champions to also-rans and back to champions in three years, then it stands to reason that he will do it again.

So doing it again is clearly no longer good enough for the administration of the club. Winning silverware - the main reason we think coaches are employed - has become insufficient for the Leeds Rhinos.

Avoiding a yoyo existence has been added to the job description of the Leeds head coach. We need to you not lose too many games in a row, not give us too many unpleasant surprises, as well as filling our trophy room.

But that's how it looks from the outside.

The thing to understand is that club bosses almost certainly know more about what’s going on inside your favourite team than you do. So do, often, journalists. Officials will use them as sounding boards for decisions they might make, to see how those decisions are received by fans.

Penrith Panthers supporters chortled recently when their coach, Anthony Griffin, was said to be in danger of losing his job. The “Pennies” are running fourth with a 10-5 record.

Then a coaching review at the Panthers was announced. Some people still think the speculation materialised out of thin air. I can tell you from 35 years’ experience, it may prove to be wrong in the long run but it came from somewhere.

As influential as certain pundits, ex-players, agents and media men can be in what you believe, they can have even more influence behind the scenes. Their real work as "influencers" is done in private.

Coaches don’t live and die by results; they live and die by perceptions.