BOSS BRIAN McDermott has outlined what he reckons went wrong for Leeds Rhinos this year.
Rhinos finished ninth in Super League, a year after winning the treble.
Writing to fans on the club’s database, McDermott identified the late finish last year, floods which wrecked their Kirkstall training base and injuries as major causes of Rhinos’ downfall.
McDermott claims Rhinos were left trailing their rivals after finishing the 2015 season five weeks later than the likes of Hull and Warrington Wolves, due to their run to the Grand Final and a tour game against New Zealand.
“With our season lasting a month longer than anyone else, inevitably that knocked back the time when our players would return to pre-season, having only four weeks’ break when the players usually get six,” he said.
“We had factored that into our preparations and tried to get our usual seven-week pre-Christmas programme into a four-week period.
“We were confident we could pick things up in the New Year ahead of us heading to Florida for our camp to fine tune our preparations.
“However, as we all know, the floods at Christmas struck a huge blow to our plans.
“Having lost our home we were forced to live a nomadic life during an incredibly wet January and February where every available field was in high demand.
“We were fortunate that a number of organisations were very generous to us.
“B, but naturally there was only so much time we could get on those fields.
“Anecdotally, I have estimated the impact of the floods meant we could do three times less skill, fitness and running sessions as we had done at the start of 2015 after Christmas.”
McDermott added: “The other major impact on our season was the injuries.
“Having reviewed the season with our medical staff, their records have revealed that there was no consistency to the type or severity of the injuries we were suffering and no patterns that we could have addressed to solve the problem as a whole.
“In reality, the lack of core work we had been able to do with the players was a contributing factor.
“We found ourselves in a catch 22 situation whereby we needed to get the players back to play, but if they came back too early there was a danger of them breaking down.”
McDermott said it also took time to integrate new players into Rhinos’ systems after they “recruited heavily, particularly in our forwards”.
McDermott described some of Leeds’ 2016 performances as “unacceptable” and claimed his “major regret” was “that I chased too many wins too early in the season”.
He pointed out that results improved once Kirkstall was reopened and the injury situation improved.
Of the future, McDermott hinted that major signings are unlikely and he predicted veteran half-backs Danny McGuire and Rob Burrow will be “key for us next season”.