Castleford coach Daryl Powell has joined St Helens boss Keiron Cunningham in criticising the appointment of Wayne Bennett as England head coach.
Cunningham believes that, instead of turning to Australia to find a successor to Steve McNamara, the Rugby Football League should have looked no further than Brian McDermott, who guided Leeds to the treble in 2015 and also helped the USA qualify for the 2017 World Cup, or Wigan’s Shaun Wane.
Powell echoed Cunningham’s comments, telling BBC Radio Leeds that McDermott should have been given the job.
“Wayne Bennett is an outstanding coach and there’s no question he’ll do a great job,” Powell said. “The amount of experience and knowledge he’s got is massive.
“Do I believe he should have got the job? No I don’t, Brian McDermott would have been my choice.
“He’ll probably go on and win the World Cup – we’ve got some outstanding players in this country – and, if does that, fantastic, but I think Brian would have been an outstanding candidate.”
The RFL are to discuss with Bennett, who has been appointed to the end of the 2017 World Cup, a British-based assistant but Powell says he has not given the matter any thought.
“My focus is on what I’m doing here and getting this team off to a great start to the season,” he said.
“We’ve got an exciting future ahead of us and I’m not going to deflect my attention too much from that.”
Powell, a former Great Britain international, was on the England coaching staff under McNamara but stepped down following his appointment at Castleford.