LEEDS RHINOS coach Brian McDermott had to prove his own fitness after losing a bet with a group of schoolboys.
McDermott found himself performing 50 push-ups when the Leeds Grammar School pupils proved more skilled at the rugby league basics than he had expected.
The Leeds boss challenged the youngsters to complete a passing and catching drill without making an error and he confirmed: “I had to do some press-ups, I gave them a gamble that if they couldn’t reach a certain target with the ball they’d do 50 press-ups, but if they could I’d do 50.
“I made that gamble based on the first couple of attempts at a drill we did and they were useless. Then when I put that bit of spice into it, they woke up!”
Despite his unexpected exertions, McDermott hailed Rhinos’ training day at Leeds Grammar as a massive success. He said: “We’ve got quite a strong link with Leeds Grammar School and have had for quite a number of years. We get on well and there’s a fair amount of synergy with their sports staff and some of the pupils that have come through and played down at Leeds Rhinos academy.
“We know them reasonably well and we had a big training day there. We got through what we needed to do as a team, then we broke away and the under-15s played some small-sided games with us, playing on the same team as people like Jamie Peacock, Kevin Sinfield, Rob Burrow and Danny McGuire. It must have been a dream come true for them.”
McDermott added: “The players enjoyed it and it was a day that worked well. It’s important we do this sort of thing. We have got a few objectives we like to accomplish, for example winning games and being successful and the club being financially sound, but it is important establishments like ours are never a closed-shop, that we do as much as we can in the community.
“We can always remember a time when we were kids coming through and those brief instances when we rubbed shoulders with a pro’ player and thought it was great we got to do that.
“If you look at your average Super League player today, it’s remarkable how much access time members of the public get to them. For them to meet all the demands of their job day-in and day-out, play at the weekend and then make themselves available in the community, whether its appearances at a local junior event, handing out trophies or opening a fete somewhere. They do a fair bit the Leeds Rhinos players and credit to them.”