Daryl Powell and Keiron Cunningham have both criticised the RFL’s choice to hire Wayne Bennett as England head coach.
Australian Bennett has agreed a two-year deal to replace the outgoing Steve McNamara, who spent five and-a-half years in charge of the national team.
But both the St Helens and Castleford head coach’s believe that Leeds Rhinos’ Brian McDermott should have been given the job.
McDermott is currently coaching the USA national team and has helped them qualify for the World Cup in 2017.
Cunningham told the St Helens Reporter: “Brian Mac should be our front-runner and I find it baffling and shocking that he has had to cross the Atlantic to coach the United States of America when we are looking towards Australia for a new national coach.
“I’ve nothing against Wayne Bennett – he is a great coach and players will jump at the chance to play under him – but Brian’s record speaks for itself and I feel he would be the right choice.
“Mac is one of the most experienced coaches in our competition. He’s won a treble in one of the best competitions in the world and we still need to go overseas to find a coach.”
Castleford coach Powell has also questioned why the RFL didn’t look closer to home when making the appointment:
“Wayne Bennett is an outstanding coach and there’s no question he’ll do a great job,” Powell said via Sporting Life. “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.”