McClennan up for NRL coaching challenge - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

McClennan up for NRL coaching challenge

By Robert Lowe 01/08/2011 04:16:49 PM Comments (0)

Warriors coach-in-waiting Brian McClennan rates his new NRL job the biggest challenge of a successful career.

The 49-year-old New Zealander was appointed on Monday to take over as head coach as the Auckland-based club for two years when Ivan Cleary departs for Penrith at the end of the season.

"Bluey" McClennan has an impressive CV that includes guiding the New Zealand Test team to the Tri-Nations crown in 2005 and then winning back-to-back English Super League titles and a world club championship with the Leeds Rhinos.

However, citing the competitive depth in the NRL, he said: "I know that is the biggest challenge that I've had personally."

But while he said all challenges were "supposed to give you a bit of fear", he felt buoyed by the appointment.

"I can remember when I was announced as Kiwi coach - a lot of people thought I wouldn't be able to do it," he said.

"I got that done. The same with the 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 that done.

"I've learnt from those experiences that, at the end of the day, it is still a game of footy and, if you work really hard, then the rest will take care of itself."

McClennan returned from England last year and has been working as the Auckland Rugby League's football development manager.

He is due to start at the Warriors on a limited basis from September 1 to get him up to speed with the club's structure and organisation.

With the Warriors in playoff contention again this year and the Junior Warriors sitting at the top of the table in their defence of the under-20s National Youth Competition title, McClennan will take over a club in a healthy state.

"That's exciting and it's a matter of making sure we keep that progress," he said.

He declined to comment on where he felt the first-grade squad might need strengthening, saying he wanted to talk first to Cleary's assistant Tony Iro and Junior Warrior mentor John Ackland.

Iro and Ackland were among the contenders for the job and club chief executive Wayne Scurrah said there had also been interest from overseas, including Britain.

Scurrah said both Iro and Ackland, who both know McClennan well, had expressed interest in working with him.

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