BRING IT on is boss Brian McDermott’s attitude to possibly the toughest task in Leeds Rhinos’ history.
Leeds will face Australia’s best team at AAMI Park on Friday, February 16 – just eight days after a Betfred Super League clash with Hull KR at Elland Road.
In a hectic schedule, they will begin the journey back to England the day after the world title match and visit Widnes Vikings in Super League round three on Sunday, February 25.
The odds are stacked against Rhinos, who open their Super League campaign away to Warrington Wolves on February 1 and the long trip to Australia and tough game out there could have a bearing on their domestic prospects.
McDermott said they will embrace the opportunity.
He insisted: “It is something we will have to deal with, but I’d rather deal with it than not.”
McDermott has coached Rhinos against visiting Australian teams three times – winning the title in 2012 – and he warned: “To getting on an aeroplane within 12 hours of playing a game, to having five days’ prep’ to play in a World Club Challenge, then come back and the following week fall straight back into Super League again, there’s some stuff there we’ve got to get right.
“If we don’t get it right it can hurt us, but I want to be in that environment.
“We want those problems or challenges.”
Rhinos’ previous seven World Club Challenges have been played in Leeds and Elland Road had been lined up for next year, but Storm refused to travel.
Leeds’ enthusiasm to make the trip salvaged the fixture and McDermott reflected: “There was some doubt about whether the game was going to go on.
“I think most of our lads who have played in World Club Challenges over here, we want to do it over there now.
“We have had some success over here and some years we lose, but it means more if you go over there in their backyard and try and get some success out there.
“There’s no pressure, but we are aware we will be flying the flag [for the European game].”