Leeds Rhinos: McDermott to favour attractive style

New Leeds coach Brian McDermott today pledged his side will turn on the style in Engage Super League XVI.

The former Bradford and Great Britain prop, who has succeeded Brian McClennan in the Headingley hot seat, has been challenged by his boss, Leeds chief executive Gary Hetherington, to win playing attractive rugby in 2011 by producing an "exciting, innovative and creative style of play".

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At today's pre-season media day, Hetherington launched a thinly-disguised criticism of the defensive tactics introduced into Super League over the last three years by Australian coaches Michael Maguire and Nathan Brown at Wigan and Huddersfield respectively.

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"The last few years in Super League has been dominated by an influx of defensive coaching techniques which effectively strangle the life out of the opposition," said Hetherington.

"Whilst these tactics are very effective, they do nothing for the spectacle and I would like to think all coaches could focus their skills on raising the standard of attacking play."

Rather than increasing the pressure to reclaim the title the Rhinos relinquished last season to Wigan, McDermott insists he is ready for the challenge.

"I like it," he said. "I think it's a great attitude to have. It's a club philosophy and I agree with it.

"The crux of it for me is that playing a certain style which involves a lot of passing wins games, certainly for Leeds Rhinos, who have a squad full of skill and talent.

"I personally don't like to see a boring game of rugby league. I cringe when I see people quote completion rates and talk about errors. I think teams lose games because they don't score enough points."

McDermott, who left Harlequins to return to live in Yorkshire, admits the Rhinos will struggle to overcome the early-season absence of prop Jamie Peacock and stand-off Danny McGuire, who are not expected to be back until late April or early May after undergoing major knee surgery.

"It's an issue we will have to overcome," he said. "We have a deep squad and some talent in the squad and it just means that people like Danny Buderus, Rob Burrow, Kevin Sinfield and Brent Webb have got to come up with a little more themselves.

"We're certainly not going to be kicking our heels waiting for them."

Meanwhile, McDermott today announced he had cancelled his squad's planned warm-weather training camp in Cyprus in favour of an outdoor activities camp in north Yorkshire.

McClennan had planned to take the team abroad in the first week in

February but McDermott, a former marine, reckons that is not the right option - despite this winter's bad weather.

"Training has been a pain in the backside but that's not why we've changed camps," he said.

"I'm not going to go into the reasons but there's nothing sinister. There's a new coaching staff and I believe we will find a little bit more about each other in north Yorkshire than we would in Cyprus.

"We've got some new players and some young fellas in the squad. I want the fellas to see each other in a bit of discomfort before the start of the season.

"I don't want the first time they see each other under adverse conditions to be after a ball has been kicked because then it is too late.

"It won't be the toughest camp - there's nothing military about it - but they won't have too much spare time and mobile phones won't work."

Leeds captain Kevin Sinfield admitted the club's sudden about-turn took

the players by surprise.

"There was a mixed reaction, truthfully," he said. "The lads laughed.

"We all thought we were off to Cyrus but I will be going there with a

smile on my face, ready to roll my sleeves up, as will the rest of the

guys, and we'll get what we can out of the trip.

"I don't think it matters where we go. We're looking forward to it."

Thomas Christiansen.

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