Leeds Rhinos: McDermott wants more from Rhinos’ strike force

Brian McDermott
Brian McDermott
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DESPITE SEEING them score 210 points in their past five games, coach Brian McDermott thinks Leeds Rhinos need to make improvements in attack.

Rhinos have the best defence in Super League, having conceded only 82 points in 10 matches going into tonight’s visit of Wigan Warriors.

But the team boss wasn’t happy with how they used the ball in last Saturday’s 32-12 Tetley’s Challenge Cup win over St Helens and wants them to do better tonight.

Wigan are aiming for an eighth straight victory in all competitions, which would take them level on points with Leeds – who were knocked off the top spot when St Helens beat London Broncos last night.

Assessing tonight’s task, McDermott said: “We play them again in a couple of weeks and win or lose, as long as we play well against them and continue some of what we are doing defensively and iron out some of the little blips we’ve got in our offensive game, that’s important.

“This next period is less about the opposition and more about ourselves.

“We have got some little goals to be more consistent offensively.

“We scored a lot of points last week, but we had too many hairy moments in the second half. I would pay Saints a lot of respect and say they are going to do that to you, but a lot of it was how we gave them the ball.

“How we kicked to towards them I thought was a bit scratchy, so there’s something we want to get right.

“We were brilliant near our tryline last year and had to be, but if you do too much of that you end up getting too tired.”

After tonight, Rhinos visit high-flying Castleford Tigers in six days’ time before a Magic Weekend re-match with Wigan.

They then play host to Hull and travel to Warrington Wolves in the build-up to a Cup quarter-final at home to Leigh Centurions, on Friday, June 6.

McDermott said: “This is an important time, but I would not say it’s a mark-or-break part of the season.

“What we’ve done over the first 10 rounds of the season puts us in a good position to go into this tough period.

“But we need to come out of this period with some wins under our belt, some great performances under our belt and more importantly, few injuries.”

Wigan have hit form after losing a world title match and two of their opening three league games.

“They had the World Club Challenge to contend with, so they will have had one eye on that,” McDermott said.

“They are the double champions and we will be expecting a very good team and that’s what we are preparing for.”

Wigan thrashed Bradford Bulls 84-6 in their most recent Super League fixture, on Easter Monday, before a 52-8 Challenge Cup win over Hunslet Hawks last weekend.

Leeds have had two much tougher games, against Salford Red Devils and St Helens and McDermott admitted his team could be more battle-hardened.

But he added: “Or we could be more fatigued. We will find out on game day.”

WINNER: Leeds Rhinos' Kallum Watkins celebrates scoring his side's second try ion last year's Grand Final at Old Trafford against Castleford Tigers. Picture: Richard Sellers/PA

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