CHALLENGE CUP final veteran Rob Burrow insists Leeds Rhinos are going into today’s showpiece against Hull KR in good nick.
Boss McDermott has named a strong side, with a combined total of 48 Cup final appearances among them.
And Burrow, speaking at the eve-of-final walkabout on the Wembley pitch, said spirits are high in the camp, but with no hint of overconfidence.
“We’re feeling really good,” Burrow said. “It’s great to be back (at Wembley).
“At the start of every year it’s something we want to be involved in, so to get here is amazing.
“The whole week’s build up, travelling down and when we go and see the ground is all part of the occasion.”
Today will be Burrow’s seventh Challenge Cup final – a year on from his first winner’s medal – and he insisted it means as much as his debut 12 years ago.
“Every year it is special,” he said. “We tasted it last year, what it’s like to come here and win.
“We want to have that experience every year. We aim high, to get everything available and this is the first opportunity.
“We are in a good spot. The team has been playing well for a few weeks now, but that counts for nothing if we don’t perform (today).
“Form is irrelevant. Different competitions can create different results, so we have got to maintain our form and just perform well. That’s all there is.”
Rhinos are odds-on favourites, but Burrow said nobody in the camp is feeling the weight of expectation.
“It’s the first I know of it,” Burrow said of Rhinos’ 9-2 on favouritism. “We aren’t bothered whether we are favourites or underdogs.
“We don’t worry about that, we just concentrate on playing well.
“We know Hull KR are a fantastic team and they have shown that against us this year.
“They are a really good attacking team, with some great individual players. We have got to cope with that.
“What the betting suggests is totally irrelevant.”
Leeds are top scorers in Super League, but Burrow predicted their defence will have to be good against a Hull KR side who boast lethal finishing power of their own.
“They have got a number of threats,” he said. “You can go right through the team.
“They are a great team and we have seen them play at their best against us.
“They are a really good team with a lot of strike players. They were fantastic in the semi-final and they will be looking to replicate that and go one step further.
“It is important we raise our performance on recent weeks.”
A crowd of more than 80,000 is expected and Burrow said the Leeds fans have a key role to play.
“We know how good the Leeds fans are,” he said. “They support us wherever we go.
“But obviously Hull’s a rugby city and it’s great for the team, who haven’t been involved in a game like this for a while, to come down here.
“They will bring a massive, massive crowd. Mix that in with fantastic Leeds support and all the hallmarks are there for a fantastic atmosphere.”
Meanwhile, Rovers coach Chris Chester has revealed his side used piped music at their home ground in a bid to create the Wembley atmosphere in practice.
He said: “We’ve trained this week at the KC Lightstream Stadium with a lot of music, cheering and a lot of noise.
“The players know what it’s going to be like and what a challenge it is going to be. But we’re looking forward to this challenge.”
Chester, a Cup winner against Rhinos for Hull FC 10 years ago, added: “We’ve had a walk around Wembley and it’s an amazing stadium and it’s an amazing feeling to be involved in something like this. The boys are pretty relaxed and all excited.
“These opportunities don’t come along too often in a player’s career and we’ve got to make the most of it.
“We’re going to try and keep it as relaxed as possible. We’re a tight group and we’re just looking forward to getting out here on Saturday.”