Leeds Rhinos: I have pushed injured players to return, says McDermott

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UNDER-PRESSURE Leeds Rhinos boss Brian McDermott admits he has been “guilty” of pushing some of his injured players back too quickly due to the troubled nature of this season.

They host Salford Red Devils tonight with news two more of their already-depleted squad will be unavailable as they seek to end a seven-game losing run.

Brian McDermott

Brian McDermott

Scrum-half Jordan Lilley and second-row Brett Delaney were named in the initial 19-man party on Wednesday but McDermott said yesterday they will now not play.

Australian second-row Delaney only came back from a lengthy hamstring problem two games ago but is sidelined again and is among a a list of six regulars unavailable.

Leeds have had more out at various times this season, one of the reasons why the defending champions are still rooted to the bottom of the table.

Asked if he has brought some players back early due to the squad’s ongoing difficulties, McDermott said: “Yes. The simple answer is yes. I think I’ve been guilty of that.

“I’ll review this year and we’ll go through a process but one of the things I’d like to do better is not to have pushed those fellas as hard as early.

“Maybe an (Carl) Ablett, a Brett Delaney in particular, Jamie Jones (Buchanan)...

“You have almost got to not listen to the players at times.

“They are saying ‘I’m right to go coach – put me in’ and they limp off somewhere. So you think he doesn’t look right but if he tells me we’ll go with him...

“The medical team have been great. They get players to a stage where they are putting their hand up and I think the need to get some results and wins plays with your brain a little bit.

“We’re in a better place with it now.”

McDermott said teenager Lilley twisted his ankle in the 24-12 defeat to Catalans Dragons last Friday while Delaney, the experienced 30-year-old forward, picked up a leg injury in training.

“Lets hope Brett’s just a couple of weeks,” he said.

“Rob Burrow will be included and we’ll see how Cuthbo goes.”

On the rest of Leeds’ injured players, McDermott added: “Tom Briscoe cold be within the month.

“Very much like his injury last year, it’s taken longer than the initial prediction.

“Ablett could be ready for Wakefield next week but the smart call could be the game after as we have the weekend off for the Challenge Cup, too.

“That’s the same with Ryan Hall.

“Zak (Hardaker) could be another two or three weeks, we’re hoping no more, and Stevie Ward is inside eight weeks maybe six.”