LEEDS RHINOS will have to do it tough against visitors Hull FC, coach Brian McDermott has warned.
Wigan Warriors’ aggressive approach knocked Rhinos out of their stride six days ago and sent McDermott’s men tumbling to only their second defeat of the year.
Hull will have taken close note of how Wigan halted Leeds’ seven-game winning run and McDermott said: “I have no doubt Hull will try some of that themselves.
“They will try those ‘aggression’ tactics and the players need to be prepared for that, because I am sure that’s a trait other teams will start using.”
McDermott insisted he has no problem with the opposition getting in Leeds’ faces.
“That’s something you welcome, because that’s what rugby league’s all about,” he said.
“Some of the recklessness I am not so sure about.
“I think we have to be careful we don’t go back to the 1980s when people could recklessly throw their body into a tackle and if they go high that’s just unfortunate.
“I don’t agree with that. Toughness takes many forms and I thought Jamie Peacock put in one of the toughest performances I have seen from a Super League player for a long, long time last week.
“He came off worst in many collisions during that game, yet carried on putting his hand up and carrying it forward.
“It is something our players need to take on board and learn a lesson from. If you want an indication of what toughness is, have a look at JP.”
Rhinos are looking to get back to winning ways and McDermott denied they will have learned more from last week’s defeat than their recent run of victories.
He said: “As long as you are winning in the right manner and scrutinising your game with as much diligence as if you were losing, there’s no problem with keeping on winning.
“The fact we lost last week’s game doesn’t mean we’ve been working any harder. We have been working hard and the players have been very thorough with their reviews after each game.
“It was a disappointing loss for us and something we aren’t happy about. We spoke before the game about valuing top spot (in the table) and keeping hold of that.
“We certainly didn’t play for the first 30 minutes of last week’s game like we value top spot and that’s disappointing.
“The players were very disappointed after the game and we have a very sombre and hard-hitting review.
“We are very conscious not to over-react. Technically, tactically and structurally there’s not much gone wrong, but certainly attitude-wise in that first 30 minutes it was not where we needed to be and Wigan showed more intensity, aggression and urgency than we did.
“That’s why we lost the game.”
Hull are looking for a first win in four matches, but McDermott predicted: “They will have their own little agenda going on.
“I am sure (coach) Lee Radford will have done enough with them this week to make sure they arrive at Headingley intense and on the money.
“We can expect a very physical battle from Hull and I am sure they will be very committed.”
McDermott played alongside Radford at Bradford Bulls and has backed the rookie team boss to emerge stronger from his side’s current problems.
“He has only just started on the coaching ladder and he’s having a harsh introduction,” McDermott said.
“If he can pull through this and manage these tough moments he can actually come out of it in great shape.”