Hard-to-please Brian McDermott has described unbeaten Leeds Rhinos’ form so far this year as “not great”.
HARD-TO-PLEASE COACH Brian McDermott has described unbeaten Leeds Rhinos’ form so far this year as “not great”.
Rhinos have won three and drawn one of their four games so far, but McDermott insists they aren’t playing anything like as well as they can.
Ahead of tonight’s visit of Widnes Vikings, McDermott said: “I always get asked about when we lose and when we win and I always mention the word performance. I am sure there’s a few people roll their eyes and say it’s all about winning, but it’s not. It is about performing and I wouldn’t say we’ve been great so far this year.
“If you put our games into context, we’ve played against some teams that were out of form and against a Catalan team that was very injured.
“We came up against a very good Huddersfield team last week and we were scrappy. That’s the frustrating part.
“If we are going to do anything special this season we need to play well, we need to defend strong and we need to be consistent with the ball.
“I don’t think we’ve nailed that this year, so far. Our wins and losses record so far makes nice reading, but that’s all it is, just reading.
“The reality is we’ve got some improving to do, which is understandable. It is the early part of the season and nothing’s gone wrong. As people get better and the weather warms up we aim to be playing a lot better than what we are doing.”
McDermott wants a big improvement tonight, following the 12-12 draw at Huddersfield seven days ago.
He said: “People were saying how well we defended our tryline, but we wouldn’t have had to do as much of that had we managed the game a bit better and defended a bit more strongly coming away from their tryline. I thought our defence was a bit flaky at times. We are looking for an improved performance.
“Widnes are a good team. They are like Castleford at the moment, they are surprising a few people and you’ve got to give the club and [coach] Denis Betts credit.
“They’ve kept it all controlled. They have recruited well and they haven’t overspent or gone silly or gone and recruited just anybody and paid them loads of money.”
Widnes’ three wins so far have all been at home. Tonight is their first away game, but McDermott warned: “It is nice to play at home, but Widnes came to our place last year and nearly beat us, so I don’t think they will fear Headingley. I don’t think that will be a significant factor.”