Leeds Partnership McLennan Visits

2nd August 2007

THE coach who ended two decades of international dominance by the Kangaroos has been spending the week in the Rabbitohs bunker. As part of the ground-breaking deal between Souths Sydney and Leeds in-coming Rhinos coach Brian McClennan is embedded with Rabbitohs head coach Jason Taylor and his coaching staff as part of his education before the former Kiwi coach takes over the reigns at Leeds for the 2008 season. McClennan burst onto the rugby league scene when he coached the Kiwis to a 24-0 win over the Kangaroos in the Tri Nations final in November 2005. It was New Zealand?s first Test series win over Australia in 50 years and the first time the Kangaroos had not won a series or a tournament since 1978. McClennan said he was grateful for the chance to learn from the Rabbitohs set-up.

"It's very very exciting," he said. "It's great to be able to spend this time with the Rabbitohs to learn and research as much as I can. I?m discovering so much about the systems that Souths use and how they go about things. It is all so professional. This agreement between the clubs is so progressive. They are two of the biggest clubs in rugby league but are not competitors and it is a great opportunity to be able to share ideas because you are always trying to further educate yourself," he said. "Just being able to sit in on things just the match previews and reviews will be of great help when I do get to Leeds. There is strength in numbers, there is a bond here and when you look at the broader picture and the history of these clubs this agreement is something that will help to ensure the future success of both clubs.? McClennan has been learning about all aspects of the club not just the coaching side of things.

"I'm staying with (Souths CEO) Shane Richardson and he has such vast experience in the game," he said. "JT and the whole coaching staff have been so open and welcoming and so has Shane. He has been there and done that in England and Australia and there is lots I can learn from him and I?m sure Leeds as a club can too." McClennan said he was very impressed with what he has seen at South Sydney so far. "It's obvious that the players are all very happy and I can see why. It is also evident as why Souths have enjoyed the success they have so far this year. There are some great philosophies here.

In joining Leeds McClennan follows in the footsteps of his father Mike who coached St Helens and enjoyed victory in both the Challenge Cup final and the Championship. "Getting over to Leeds and getting started is something I'm looking forward too and visiting Souths is a part of that process," he said. "It is going to be a challenge. I?m heading over there a bit early in November to get acquainted with the place and then it will all go from there." Richardson, who was instrumental in stitching the deal between Souths and Leeds together, spent time at Headingley Carnegie earlier this year, while Rabbitohs chief operating officer Brandon Punter has just returned from a one month stint with Leeds. McClennan is currently joined at Souths by Rhinos player performance manager Graham Davey.