BOSS BRIAN McDermott has described struggling champions Leeds Rhinos’ plight as a “fascinating challenge”.
Rhinos, who play host to Hull KR tonight, have won just two of nine competitive games since completing a domestic treble last year.
They are third from bottom in First Utility Super League and the competition’s lowest scorers, but McDermott insisted they “aren’t miles off or floundering around”.
And he said: “I think it’s a fascinating challenge. If I take my Rhinos hat off, obviously what we did last year was brilliant and I’d argue we did it with class last year as well. Now this year we’re at the other end of table and going through some tough times and I think it’s as equally fascinating about how we’re handling this.”
McDermott – who confirmed he will remain in charge of the United States for next year’s World Cup – pledged Rhinos will come good “as long as players keep their composure and keep their counsel and make sure answers are always coming from within”.
He added: “I don’t question the players’ desire or commitment at all. Some of the players are a bit down on themselves – there’s a big dark cloud over some of the players at the moment and you’d expect that. It’s almost my job just to get that cloud away from them and to play with their eyes up, be more bright-eyed and bushy-tailed out there. It’s easier said than done when there’s a whole load of negativity going on at the moment, but we try and be positive and we know it will happen for us and it will come.”