BRIAN MCDERMOTT has praised the “incredible” Chris Plume after, despite no Super League playing experience, he advanced up the Leeds Rhinos coaching ladder to become an integral part of the Headingley set-up.
Aside from a handful of games for Huddersfield Giants in National League One in 2002, when he also played for Gateshead Thunder, plus some brief appearances for Sheffield Eagles and Hunslet Hawks, he has no background on the field itself.
However, Plume has proven that a first-hand knowledge of the game like that is not always needed to teach others how to improve playing standards.
He was originally Huddersfield’s player performance manager from 2004 to 2006, where he first came across McDermott who was Tony Smith’s assistant at the time.
Plume then linked up with Smith again having joined Rhinos’ community team in 2007 before being promoted a year later to a coaching role with the Academy and the first team.
He has been on board ever since working in various roles with Brian McClennan and, for the last five years, McDermott.
Plume has combined his work as Under-19s coach with the first team, especially since McDermott’s No2 Jimmy Lowes took the Yorkshire Carnegie head coach job in June 2013 and, essentially, no replacement was brought in.
However, with ex-England captain Adrian Morley returning to Headingley last week as Under 19s coach, Plume – at the hub of last year’s historic treble-winning campaign – has now officially been promoted full-time to the first team working with McDermott and fellow assistant Barry Eaton.
“You have to look at what Chris Plume has done with us,” said the Leeds head coach, about a man who started out coaching at Huddersfield University.
“He’s been with us five years now Plumey and done a great job.
“Although involved in rugby league all his life, his history in the game is that he never actually played full-time pro’.
“So, for him to stand in front of Super League and international players – some of the best in the world – and deliver information where the players go ‘I get that coach’ shows he has done an incredible job.
“I suppose Moz is now replacing the dynamic of losing a Jimmy Lowes-type character. And to have Plumey solely as our coach next year – without the 19s – will be good for him, too.”
Meanwhile, McDermott is looking forward to seeing Danny McGuire have a real crack in his second year as captain.
The ex-Great Britain stand-off played just 13 games last season after an injury-ravaged campaign.
“I feel for Danny Mags; I think he’s a fantastic leader but just didn’t get time to show it last year,” said McDermott, about Kevin Sinfield’s successor.
“He’s more of a ‘I’ll do it, you follow me’ type so it was tough on him when he couldn’t do it. But he’s in a very determined mood.”