DISAPPOINTING RECENT form will have no bearing on Leeds Rhinos’ Tetley’s Challenge Cup prospects at Langtree Park tomorrow, coach Brian McDermott says.
Rhinos have lost three and drawn one of their eight First Utility Super League fixtures since the Cup quarter-final victory over Leigh Centurions and were beaten at home by already-relegated Bradford Bulls a week ago.
Opponents Warrington Wolves slipped up against Widnes Vikings and Wakefield Trinity Wildcats recently, but won away to Catalan Dragons last Friday and McDermott said: “It is interesting in that they started off a bit slowly this season, then they hit a massive vein of form and just recently they’ve had a couple of scratchy ones.
“But the cliche is it doesn’t matter – the same as ours. You look back in the history books and there are teams that have taken some fantastic form into Challenge Cup games and got beaten and on the flip side some teams who have been really, really poor going into Challenge Cup games and have won.
“The beauty of this competition every year is it brings out the best in some teams and some nervousness in others. What they have done recently and their game last Friday and our game last Friday, I don’t think that will have a bearing. I don’t think there’s anything that happened on Friday that will have a bearing on our build-up. Literally nothing.
“There’s nothing I am going to be saying about Friday. I am not going to be waving a stick saying ‘don’t do that again’. There’s not that many carrots we can dangle in front of them, but we did some good stuff as well.
“There was loads of energy, loads of passion and loads of desire defensively, but there’s not much I am going to drag from Friday and use as a coaching tool this week.”
Warrington are aiming for a fourth Wembley appearance under former Leeds boss Tony Smith, after Cup final wins in 2009, 2010 and 2012.
Two of those were against Rhinos, but McDermott insisted: “That won’t need speaking about. We aren’t mentioning that. We aren’t avoiding it either, but it’s not something we’d normally bring up anyway.
“Bearing in mind they’ve beaten us the last few years so we’d better be good, it doesn’t work like that. It’s a new year and a new competition.
“We know they are good in this competition, we are aware of that, but I don’t think that gives them an edge over us because of what’s happened in the last few years.”