Leeds Rhinos: McDermott’s wary of a Hull backlash

Brian McDermott.
Brian McDermott.
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BOSS Brian McDermott has warned his Leeds Rhinos players to expect an “angry” Hull backlash in tomorrow’s Carnegie Challenge Cup quarter-final at KC Stadium.

The coach reckons Hull will be smarting from their 20-0 Engage Super League defeat at Headingley nine days earlier.

But while he is tipping a better effort from the opposition tomorrow, McDermott believes Leeds will also step up a gear.

“We will be facing an angry Hull team,” McDermott predicted. “But we weren’t great either last week.

“I thought our defence was outstanding and some of our attitude towards defence and towards penalties against and adversity and errors we made, that was fantastic.

“But with the ball, the rain made it so hard to achieve what we wanted to achieve.”

Rhinos – who missed only eight tackles last week – have struggled with their attack all season, but McDermott said he is reluctant to change their approach.

“We could alter our goals and say let’s just make sure we keep possession of the ball,” he stated.

“If we did that we would have limited chances to score tries and make breaks. It is a fine balance.

“While Hull might be a bit angry and a bit more focused than they were last week, so will we.

“It is a big game for us and for where we are.”

The Challenge Cup is a target for Rhinos, who haven’t won the trophy since 1999 and were embarrassed 30-6 by Warrington Wolves in last year’s final.

McDermott, right, said: “The cup is important to Leeds, I am not going to try and play that down.

“With what went on last year there will be people making mention of that, but I won’t be referring to it – 100 per cent not.

“What we will do is hopefully continue from where we left off last week. Where we are at, we have got some issues we need to fix up.

“I thought it was a strong performance against Hull. While the offence didn’t excite too many people, I thought some of the intensity within the game, defensively especially, was good.

“But that doesn’t fix things up though and we have still got to make sure we continue to improve.

“We have had a focused week and we should have Brent Webb and Kylie Leuluai available again, which has brought added competition for places in training.

“Hopefully we can repeat some of the stuff we did last week, but we realise we are facing different challenges.

“We’ll be playing a different team on a different ground, but we are determined and we know we need to be better.”

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