IT WILL take an “incredible” team to stop Castleford Tigers being crowned Betfred Super League champions this year, Leeds Rhinos coach Brian McDermott has admitted.
Rhinos suffered their fourth loss of the season to the league leaders when they were beaten 38-24 at the Jungle last night. The damage was done by half-time as Castleford raced into a 30-6 lead and McDermott said: “I thought we did enough in the second half to leave with an element of pride.
“Clearly Castleford were too good in the first half for us and looking at them it is going to take an incredible team to stop them getting to the Grand Final and probably winning it.”
Of the first half, McDermott said: “Cas were good, but some of our defence didn’t have enough bite about it.
“They played with far too much momentum. I don’t think they went off the boil in the second half, I think you have got to give Leeds some credit for making sure they didn’t have much momentum.
“I will be encouraged by the second half, but I also recognise they are not running out of steam.
“Everyone’s still trying to catch up to them.”
Wigan’s win at Hull yesterday ensured Rhinos will finish second in the Super-8s table.
McDermott admitted he is pleased to have home advantage in a sudden-death semi-final later this month.
He said: “That performance doesn’t instill me with that much confidence if we face Cas so we have got a bit more work to do.
“We all know what we are capable of. At times this year we have been extremely good. Playing at home is going to be a factor.”
Tigers coach Daryl Powell was far from happy despite the result.
He said: “It was scrappy. We played well for about 25 minutes and I think we went home at half-time.
“We have some things to work on.”