Leeds Rhinos v Hull KR: It’s a level playing field - Mac

Brian McDermott.
Brian McDermott.
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UP-BEAT Leeds Rhinos boss Brian McDermott has rubbished fears his side will be at a major disadvantage when they take on visitors Hull KR tomorrow.

The East Yorkshire team – who are bidding to complete a second successive Engage Super League double over Leeds – have had an uninterrupted build-up to the game.

Rovers had no involvement in last night’s International Origin match, while Leeds had five players in action, all of whom seemed to come through the game unscathed, with another acting as non-playing reserve and three members of Rhinos’ backroom of staff also away on Origin duty.

That gave McDermott’s full squad just one training session – today – to prepare for what is a crucial contest after back-to-back heavy defeats.

But asked if Rovers have an advantage, McDermott stressed: “100 per cent not.

“We are not going to worry about them. The 13 who take to the field for us will have a job to do, playing against another Super League team.

“I don’t think they (Hull KR) have got a start on us – and I don’t think we have either. I don’t think we start any game thinking we should beat anybody.”

McDermott has named all Leeds’ International Origin players in his initial 19-man squad for tomorrow, but said a final decision will not be made until after an injury check at training today.

“With six players and three members of staff away, it has been a bit of a weird week,” McDermott said.

“But the young fellas have been outstanding and the fellas who haven’t been getting a game recently have been doing some things, so credit to them. The week has gone really well.”

Despite conceding 42 points in each of their last two games, McDermott reckons he has been buoyed by aspects of Rhinos’ performance against both Warrington Wolves and St Helens.

“In both games our first half performance was strong,” he said. “We were very strong against Saints, we contained them.

“We probably could have done a bit more with the ball – we had one or two little breaks and moments in the game when we should have been in front.

“We didn’t handle the second half and that was a bitter pill to swallow, with the amount of points we conceded.

“But in both games we played some good stuff and we need to focus on that.

“I am not trying to sweep things under the carpet and clearly there are things we need to do a lot better.

“We have got to be able to defend quick plays and cope when the opposition speeds up.

“That’s the stuff we are working on and trying to get right.”

Hull KR will be aiming for a fourth straight win over Leeds.

The Robins’ coach Justin Morgan said: “We always enjoy playing against Leeds.

“They are a high-profile club and they’re always a good team to play against, because they like to play rugby.

“Their form hasn’t been great over the past fortnight or so, but form is temporary and class is permanent.

“They’ll have a number backing up from the Origin match and sometimes that’s an advantage and sometimes a disadvantage.

“I’m not sure how they’re going to react, but we haven’t got anybody involved so we’ve had a smooth week in terms of preparation and we’ll look forward to going there and trying to do the double over them.”

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