Powell wary of McGuire

Danny McGuire, pictured, is raring to face-off against his old Leeds boss Daryl Powell

Danny McGuire, pictured, is raring to face-off against his old Leeds boss Daryl Powell

First published in National Sport News © by

Danny McGuire will have a chance to gain revenge on his old Leeds boss when he runs out for his fourth Challenge Cup final against Daryl Powell's Castleford on Saturday.

Powell was in charge of the Rhinos in 2003 when he left the 20-year-old McGuire out of the team to play Bradford at the Millennium Stadium, despite him scoring two sensational tries as a substitute in their semi-final win over St Helens.

Powell opted to play Australian Andrew Dunemann alongside skipper Kevin Sinfield in the halves, with Rob Burrow taking McGuire's spot on the bench.

Leeds went on to lose 22-20 to a Bulls side that included Jamie Peacock in their pack and are still searching for their first cup final success since 1999.

Powell's Tigers are standing in their way and the former Great Britain international knows it could be payback time for McGuire after he took what he describes as "the tricky decision" to leave him on the sidelines 11 years ago.

"He knows why I did it and I tried to explain at the time but it wasn't the best thing I've ever done in terms of communication," Powell said.

"But Danny has used it as a stepping stone for him across his career. Kevin Sinfield also got left out of one early on in his career.

"Somebody has got to miss out. It's very tough for a coach but you do it for the right reason for the team."

Powell, who was in the Leeds team that last lifted the trophy at Wembley 15 years ago, held the post of head coach for less than three years before making way for the arrival of Tony Smith.

Just 35 when he succeeded Australian Dean Lance in the Headingley hot seat, Powell himself took the decision to step down, although in hindsight he admits he probably acted prematurely.

"I think there is a lot of misconception about how it finished," he said. "I decided to step down, it was my decision alone, I wasn't pushed to one side in any way, shape or form.

"A lot of things have been said that were completely wrong. I have no problems with how it finished.

"It was my first year out of playing and the culture needed changing. There were quite a lot of players who needed to leave the club in order to refresh it and there were quite a lot of young players coming through the system who needed to step up.

"I just felt at that time it was a good chance to step out and have a good look around. If I look back on it now, I would probably have gone on another year but you can't change what's happened.

"Obviously in my last year we got to the Challenge Cup final, just lost it, and then lost by a point to Wigan in a final eliminator, so we were very close.

"That's history. Once I make a decision, I don't look back."

The intention was for Powell to continue his apprenticeship as director of rugby working alongside Smith before returning to the post when the time was right.

However, Powell missed the hands-on coaching, and after a stint with Leeds' rugby union team, he went on to enjoy a successful spell in the Championship with Featherstone.

"I got a four-year contract from Leeds, two as director of rugby and then two back in as head coach, but when the team won the Grand Final it got extended by a year, so I had a five-year contract," he said.

"But I couldn't not coach for that long. That's why I went into rugby union and I think it was good for me."

Now 49, Powell is a hot favourite to become Super League coach of the year after transforming the fortunes of Castleford in his first full season. He has c ertainly got the vote of current Leeds boss Brian McDermott.

"Daryl is a good coach," McDermott said. "What a fantastic season he's had.

"You'd be hard pushed to not vote him as coach of the year already, wouldn't you?

"He's done some great recruitment. A few of us were shaking our heads, thinking 'I don't know about him' but he's coached them all up to be very good players."

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree