Leeds Rhinos: A Wembley warm up

editorial image
Have your say

THE next three games are ideal preparation for Wembley. That’s the view of boss Brian McDermott exactly 21 days out from Leeds Rhinos’ Carnegie Challenge Cup final date with Warrington Wolves.

Rhinos visit Hull KR tomorrow and McDermott stressed: “That’s the sort of game we want now, absolutely.

“We’ve got a really tough one against Hull KR and then a real challenge on our hands playing Widnes at home.

“Then we’ve got a really big game away to Catalan. It is an ideal build-up.

“That’s what it is, the build-up to Wembley. We want to pick up as many league points as we can, but if we win every game between now and Wembley that means we are in good nick and playing well.

“Wembley isn’t a distraction from the league, it gives us a focus point on being very good.”

McDermott is looking for a big improvement on the 38-18 defeat at Wakefield Trinity Wildcats five days ago.

“We made errors and we were sloppy defensively,” he said. “As we always do, we’ve looked back and reviewed the game, the week’s training, team selection – everything.

“Even with Bailey, Delaney, Ablett and McGuire out I still think we should have won, but I have got to pay Wakefield credit because they were very good.

“It’ll be a very similar scenario [tomorrow’s], because Hull KR will fancy their chances.

“They are a dogged team, very resilient. They have some individuals who are very good, Ben Galea, Con Mika and Mickey Paea are handy and create a bit for them and Michael Dobson and Blake Green marshal their troops very well.

“They are a handful of a team. They used to rely a lot on Dobson, but since Craig Sandercock has taken over he’s given them a bit more attack across the board. Some of their big fellas can play and like to play and they’ve got threats across the board. We want it to be a tough challenge. We don’t want any easy games and I don’t think we’re going to get one this weekend.”

Meanwhile, McDermott is happy for Rhinos to be written off after Monday’s defeat. He said: “Let all the doubters keep doubting and those who believe keep believing, that’s all that matters.

“We’re only interested in those in the bubble. Anyone who wants to come in the bubble, you can come in, but you’ve got to keep believing.”

Festive challenge Wakefield Trinity v leeds Rhinos tues 26th dec 2017
Richie Myler

Leeds Rhinos name strong squad for pre-season derby at Castleford Tigers