Barrie McDermott is stepping down as Leeds Rhinos’ head of youth development to take up a new role overseeing player welfare at the club.
McDermott who played 283 games for Leeds from 1995-2005, has been in charge of the club’s junior players since 2009, but the 41-year-old revealed: “Having spoken with the club, I am keen to look at a new opportunity within the Rhinos, that of player welfare.
“In recent years this has become a major focus within the game and rightfully so. As clubs, we have a duty of care for our players and as a game we must do as much as we can to help them in life, not just the 80 minutes when they are on the field at the weekend.
“This is something I feel passionate about and an area I have learned a lot about during my time as head of youth development. When you are working with young lads to get them through college or helping them gain work experience so they can build a career post-rugby it enforces the sacrifices our players make to try and be the lucky ones who become full-time Super League players.
“Hopefully, I can transfer those skills to my new role and work with the first-team players as well to develop their skills by accessing the various options that are available to them, especially those who are coming towards the end of their playing careers.”
Looking back on his previous job, McDermott said: “I have had five fantastic years as head of youth development and worked with some fantastic coaches and players during that time.
“We had a big job on our hands initially to get things back to where we wanted them to be, but through a lot of hard work and dedication from our development staff we have been able to do that.
“We devised a clear strategy my staff put into action across the community game that ensures each year we have good enough young players coming through. Many have gone to play for Leeds, other Super League clubs, in the Championship or at a high level of the community game.
“We have seen players come right through the systems we put in place to play in the first team, such as Brad Singleton, Stevie Ward, Liam Sutcliffe, Elliot Minchella and most recently Rob Mulhern to name but a few.
“The quality of those lads, both as players and people, is something I am very proud of and I am sure they will go on to have long and successful careers on the basis of the lessons were taught during their time in the Rhinos academy.”
Player performance manager Simon Bell will now have an expanded role within the youth development programme, reporting to head Brian McDermott.