LEEDS RHINOS’ record-breaking half-backs deserve more recognition, coach Brian McDermott believes.
McDermott reckons the contribution of Kevin Sinfield and Danny McGuire often gets taken for granted, because of what they have achieved during their careers.
The duo will be tasked with guiding Rhinos around the field in tonight’s first home game, against Widnes Vikings and McDermott is looking for them to build on last Sunday’s effort against Hull KR.
McGuire, Super League’s record try scorer, crossed twice and Sinfield – who leads the competition’s points and goals charts – notched a try and six conversions in Rhinos’ 40-30 victory and the coach said: “Danny was one of the outstanding performers, which got overlooked.
“He really got a grip of that game and Kev’s running game looked as strong as I’ve seen him for a while.
“A lot was said about the Hull KR halves – and rightly so, they were good – but I thought both Kevin and Danny Mags had a real good stranglehold on the game towards the back end and played some good stuff.”
McDermott added: “They aren’t talked about enough really, because everything’s been written about them both 10 times over.
“I am guilty of that myself, but there were some decent positives last week and both Kevin and Danny were involved in a lot of those.”
Rhinos trailed by 14 points twice in last weekend’s game, when they conceded three tries directly from kicks and one off an interception.
“I probably played it down after the match, because there was a feeling of disappointment about how we played,” McDermott said.
“But after review, there were some passages of play when I thought we were very good.
“Those are the things we’re trying to keep hold of. We were a bit rusty and there will be some things you have to work on after the first game of the season, but you also want to have some elements of what you want to be good at.
“I thought there was a fair few of those.”
Widnes’ coaching staff will have spotted Leeds’ problems dealing with kicks, but McDermott denied that is a concern.
“It is something we have got to look at, but it’s easily fixed up,” he stated.
“You can get on top of that relatively easily, with a bit of systems, a bit of coaching and by putting the hours in and spending more time doing it.
“It was the first game of the year and we will be better by round five, defensively as well. There was a bit of sleepiness and lethargy, especially near our tryline, early in the game.
“That won’t be happening in a few rounds’ time. We are disappointed it happened, but not overly concerned either.
“We will get on top of that.”
Widnes - who have lost their last 10 meetings with Leeds - trailed 16-0 in the first half of their opening game, against Wigan and had Patrick Ah Van sent-off, but hit back to salvage a 22-22 draw.
McDermott said: “They did some things good against Wigan, but there’s other areas which I’m sure Denis Betts, their coach, won’t have been happy with.
“They will be an improved version of what we saw last Thursday and what they have got is very good determination and lots of self-belief.
“Regardless of results, they have had some joy at Headingley. They’ve played well at Headingley in the last couple of years and I’m sure they’re going to look forward to coming here and putting in that type of performance again.”