Leeds Rhinos: Fresh feel to Rhinos' pre-season schedule

Stevie WardStevie Ward
Stevie Ward
LEEDS RHINOS' pre-season training camp will have a fresh purpose this year, as well as a different venue.

Rhinos, who visited Florida in 2015 and 2016, will put the finishing touches to preparations for the new campaign in the colder surroundings of North Yorkshire this week.

“It gives us chance to get away and just assess pre-season,” coach Brian McDermott said.

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“Normally you go on camp to build things up and put things in place.

“Now we’ve been doing that since Warrington away last year – we’ve been putting things in place for this year – so our camp is to reassess our pre-season we’ve just had, tick a few things off, put the thumbs up to each other and say ‘this is us and this is us for the rest of the season now, this is where we’ll be’.”

McDermott fielded his strongest-available line-up in two warm-up games and saw them overpower Hull KR 30-4 before a 24-0 whitewash of another Kingstone Press Championship team, Featherstone Rovers, three days ago.

“Like most teams at this time of year, everybody’s doing what they’ve got to do in training,” said McDermott, whose men begin their Betfred Super League campaign at St Helens in 10 days’ time.

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“We’re pleased with where we are in training, but then you qualify it in your friendlies and you see where you’re at.

“We know it will be a step up and there’ll be more questions asked of us against St Helens, but for our planned warm-up games everything has gone extremely well and we were pleased with [Friday’s] performance as well as the one against Hull KR.”

Stevie Ward played his first game of the year at Featherstone and McDermott felt his return was a major positive.

“He was good,” McDermott said of the forward who has been named in England’s elite performance squad.

“He played four games last year and picked up a couple of injuries in the England [Four Nations] camp.

“He’s had to work his way back into it and he’ll be happy with the game time.”