LEEDS RHINOS’ Australian forward Brett Delaney was due to have a scan today after suffering an injury in the Heatshot Festive Challenge.
Delaney was hurt in the second half of the 18-18 draw with Wakefield Trinity Wildcats after taking a bang to a rib. McDermott said: “He looks sore at the moment, but hopefully that’s all it is.”
Rhinos went into the game without a specialist senior prop after Ryan Bailey withdrew due to an Achilles problem.
The injury has worsened over pre-season and the ex-Great Britain man has the problem foot in a supportive boot.
Rhinos led by eight points twice in yesterday’s second half, but were denied a win when Wakefield equalised with a penalty goal from the final kick.
“I learned a bit more about some of the young fellas,” McDermott reflected. “Some of the under-19s that came in showed up well. Some of them will have learned a lot of good things during that game. There were some good moments and some really scratchy moments, but in the main it was a competitive game.
“I didn’t think it was the highest-skilled game ever, both teams struggled to get something together in terms of tryline attack, but it was competitive throughout.”
Leeds fielded a new-look half-back pairing of Liam Sutcliffe and Zak Hardaker, who was captain for the day.
McDermott said: “They went all right. We know about Sutty and he looked good. Zak didn’t look out of place.
“I didn’t think it was the most cohesive half-back pairing, but we had a fair few young fellas in there as well and they add to how effective your half-backs can be.”
It was Hardaker’s first game since he left England’s World Cup squad and was fined by Rhinos for unprofessional behaviour. McDermott described what happened in November as “a shame”, but added: “I can’t speak highly enough of how he has applied himself. He has a fair amount of leadership qualities and they’ve really come out in the last few weeks. It wasn’t just a symbolic gesture by me to make him captain, he was the obvious choice.”
Ben Jones-Bishop was Rhinos’ official man of the match, playing at full-back rather than his usual role on the wing.
With England winger Tom Briscoe having joined Leeds in the off-season, McDermott acknowledged there is fierce competition for places in his outside-backs.
He said: “While you would always want an absolute specialist full-back, it is good to have somebody who can fill in that role.
“Bish can and Kallum Watkins has spent some time there as well. He was very effective, Bish, very safe back there. He came up with a bit of a clumsy knock-on, but his positional play was good.”