A steward failed to recognise the Toronto Wolfpack chief who was grateful a former colleague inside the gate managed to usher him through from St Michael’s Lane.
McDermott’s side had a false start, too, as the Super League newcomers were outplayed by an impressive Castleford Tigers.
All eyes, though, were on Sonny Bill Williams as the highest-paid player in rugby history prepared for his Toronto debut.
The former All Black was named on the bench and, though McDermott was known for often leaving a substitute unused during his Leeds days, there was never any danger of that happening here.
The expectant crowd, in fact, did not have to wait long to see Williams take to the field, replacing Tom Olbison in the 26th minute.
Inevitably, after all the hype, his first touch was a poor one, knocking on following a heavy hit from Cheyse Blair, the Australian centre successfully used at second-row here by Daryl Powell.
“What a waste of money” bellowed out of the South Stand. Williams could afford himself a wry smile.
His second involvement, however, was not any better either although that fumble was more down to a shoddy pass handed to the 34-year-old on the last tackle; Williams is good but no miracle worker.
Admittedly, it was not all bad for Toronto who had opened the scoring, Liam Kay, the former Wakefield Trinity winger becoming their first player to cross in Super League after just three minutes.
He gathered a clever kick from Hakim Miloudi but when the French centre dropped a pass in their next attacking set, Castleford winger Greg Eden picked up and raced 90m to score for the visitors.
Tigers saw second-row George Griffin - one of four debutants - and Adam Milner forced to leave the field after a clash of heads in the 15th minute but it did not unruffle them in the slightest.
They were the more clinical of the sides, in the first half at least, and, in Jake Trueman, had the best player on the park.
The 20-year-old caused Toronto all sorts of problems with his running game and his half-back partnership with new signing Danny Richardson looks so promising.
It was Trueman’s short pass that put Grant Millington over for their second try and he then broke through to set up the Australian prop again but this time the ball went to ground at the vital moment.
Trueman perhaps could have gone himself and there were some times when his decision-making was slightly off but it is understandable why Powell enthuses about him so much.
Jordan Rankin’s grubber kick saw Milner (he returned but not Griffin) score their third try before Trueman was held up after darting through again.
Nevertheless, later in the same set, captain Michael Shenton crossed for his 150th club try from another fine Rankin interjection and, with Richardson slotting a penalty to his two conversions, they were good value for a 22-4 interval lead.
When Richardson’s well-timed pass sent Peter Mata’utia over at the start of the second period, McDermott must have been fearing the worst.
However, his side, with Ricky Leutele impressing in the centre and Adam Sidlow grafting hard, showed no signs of capitulating.
Miloudi picked off Rankin’s wayward pass for a 70m intercept try and Sidlow got over the line only to be denied by Trueman’s desperate tackle.
They will get better. As will Williams who spilled for a third time when trying to offload on the last tackle.
Toronto Wolfpack: Wallace; Kay, Miloudi, Leutele, Russell; Mellor, McCrone; Sidlow, Ackers, Mullally, Dixon, Olbison, Wilkin. Substitutes: Springer, Singleton, Cunningham, Williams.
Castleford Tigers: Rankin; Olpherts, Mata’utia, Shenton, Eden; Trueman, Richardson; Watts, McShane, Millington, Griffin, Blair, Milner. Substitutes: Massey, Smith, O’Neill, Hepi.
Referee: James Child (Dewsbury