Great Britain Legends: Barrie McDermott
BARRIE McDERMOTT ACTION GREAT BRITAIN RUGBY LEAGUE 1999 COPYRIGHT VARLEY
Following Great Britain’s return to international test match rugby league yesterday, we are continuing to celebrate our former players that have have worn the white, red and blue. Next up is a 2019 Leeds Rugby Hall of Fame inductee and South Stand favourite, Barrie McDermott.
Despite starting his career on the other side of the Pennines in Wigan, McDermott soon became a Headingley favourite, bringing cup experience and international recognition to Doug Laughton’s side.
He made his first Great Britain appearance after the Cherry and Whites claimed the 1993-94 Championship title, coming off the bench to help GB to a 8-4 Ashes win over Australia; their first since losing to the Kangaroos in the 1992 World Cup final. The visitors would win the next two games to clinch the series and McDermott went unselected until 1999.
A move to Leeds, where he was a Challenge Cup final try scorer and winner in ’99, McDermott was back in the Great Britain jersey for the Tri Nations series down under, starting in both games against Australia and New Zealand. Only two tries were scored by the British throughout the tournament as the southern hemisphere continued to dominate on the international stage.
The new decade saw McDermott and Great Britain step up and compete. The forward, alongside fellow Rhinos Kevin Sinfield and Keith Senior, featured ten times for his country until he retired from international rugby in 2003.
Despite the 2001 test series against Australia being cancelled due to the 9/11 bombings in the USA, the Kangaroos came across at short notice and it showed as Britain won the first test 20-12 at Huddersfield’s McAlpine Stadium. The green and golds would recover though, winning the next two games to clinch the series.
Next to make the trip into the northern hemisphere was New Zealand in 2002, with McDermott playing twice as the series was drawn. With the Kiwis getting the better of the home nation in Blackburn, prop McDermott missed out on selection for the second test draw. He was reintroduced though for the third and final match as Great Britain won their first match against New Zealand out of the last ten meetings (lost seven and drawn two).
The return of Australia to Britain in 2003 would be McDermott’s last test competition for the Lions. The Kangaroos were once again dominant in the 3-0 series win but McDermott did play in all three matches.