McClennan to take over as Warriors coach

Warriors chief executive Wayne Scurrah today confirmed Brian McClennan as the Warriors’ new head coach.

Scurrah said the former New Zealand and Leeds coach had been signed on a two-year deal through to the end of the 2013 NRL season.

McClennan (49) will take over from Ivan Cleary, the longest-serving coach in the club’s history, who will finish up with the Warriors at the end of the 2011 campaign after six seasons at the helm.

“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,” said Scurrah.

“There was interest in the position from inside the club and from coaches overseas including some in the United Kingdom.

“Brian came through as the most suitable candidate. He has had outstanding results with every team he has been involved with, be it the Kiwis, the Leeds Rhinos or club teams 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 has been working as the Auckland Rugby League’s football development manager since coming home after a highly-successful term at Leeds when he guided the Rhinos to back-to-back English Super League titles and a World Club Championship crown from 2008-2010. His tenure at Leeds followed his stint as Kiwi coach from 2005-2007 when his crowning achievement was New Zealand’s stunning 24-0 upset of the Kangaroos in the 2005 Tri Nations final at Elland Road in Leeds.

“I’m so excited and honoured to have this opportunity,” said McClennan today.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to coach the Kiwis, Leeds and Auckland club sides but my ambition always was to one day coach in the NRL, the toughest competition there is. To have that chance from next year is brilliant and to be able to achieve it with the Warriors in my home town couldn’t be better.”

McClennan said he was highly impressed with the Warriors’ development in the last six years.

“I’ve admired the way the Warriors have grown to the point they’re now one of the strongest and best-run clubs in the NRL,” he said.

“Ivan is again doing a terrific job with the NRL side. They’ve been really impressive lately and there’s also great playing depth through the NYC team, where John (Ackland) has had such success, as well as the Vulcans (in the New South Wales Cup). There’s a lot of great work being done off the field, too, and the club now has a wonderful reputation.

“While this a huge moment for me, after today’s announcement I will step back. It’s important everyone gives Ivan and the team all the support they can for the rest of this season. That’s what matters most right now.”

This isn’t the first time McClennan has had a coaching role with the club. In the Auckland Warriors’ inaugural season in 1995 he was assistant coach of the Warriors Colts in the Lion Red Cup (current NYC coach John Ackland was in charge). The colts, including future NRL players like Logan Swann, Nigel Vagana and Anthony Swann, were beaten in the grand final by North Harbour. McClennan was also assistant coach of the Warriors’ under-19 side the following season.

He becomes the club’s seventh NRL coach – and fourth New Zealand-born coach – following John Monie (1995-1997), Frank Endacott (1997-1998), Mark Graham (1999-2000), Daniel Anderson (2001-2004), Tony Kemp (2004-2005) and Cleary (2006-2011).

Scurrah said McClennan would begin working with Warriors on a limited basis from September 1 so he could become fully acquainted with the club’s structure and organisation and put together his support team for next season.

BRIAN McCLENNAN
Born: February 16, 1962
Birthplace: Auckland, NZ

Coaching Career: 
New Zealand coach 2005-2007
New Zealand assistant coach 2004
Exiles coach 2011
Leeds Rhinos (Super League) 2008-2010
Mt Albert Lions (Bartercard Cup) 2004-2006
Mt Albert Lions (Auckland competition) 2004-2006
New Zealand Sevens co-coach 2004
Hibiscus Coast Raiders (Bartercard Cup) 2000-2001 & 2003
Hibiscus Coast Raiders (Auckland competition) 1997-1999
Hibiscus Coast Raiders player-coach (Auckland competition) 1992-1994

Major Achievements: 
2009: Won Super League grand final
2009: Won League Leader’s Shield 
2008: Won Super League grand final
2008: Won World Club Championship
2006: Won Bartercard Cup grand final
2005: Won Tri Nations final
2005:Won Bartercard Cup grand final
2004: Won Bartercard Cup grand final
2001: Won Bartercard Cup grand final

Major Honours:
2009: NZRL Coach of the Year
2006: International Coach of the Year
2006: NZRL Coach of the Year
2005: NZRL Coach of the Year
2004: NZRL Coach of the Year
2001: NZRL Coach of the Year