Leeds Rhinos: Skipper Mags is backing coach McDermott

Danny McGuire
Danny McGuire
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LEEDS RHINOS captain Danny McGuire has urged disgruntled fans to keep the faith with under-fire boss Brian McDermott.

Some sections of support lost patience with the head coach during Thursday’s 52-12 home defeat against Castleford Tigers, imploring him to resign after a record loss versus their derby rivals left them rooted to the bottom of Super League.

It is only seven months since Leeds completed an historic treble under McDermott, winning the Grand Final at Old Trafford after Challenge Cup and League Leaders’ Shield.

But unrest has grown following 11 defeats from 14 league games this time around and the club’s most successful coach – he has led them to three titles, two Wembley wins and the 2012 World Club Challenge – is under mounting pressure.

Speaking at the Magic Weekend launch in Newcastle, stand-off McGuire told the YEP: “Most sports teams in these situations now, where things aren’t going well, would look for the quick fix and look for new players and a new coach.

“But I don’t think that is the right way to go about it.

“As a club we have had a lot of stability over the years and I think that’s one of the reasons why we’ve been successful. I back Mac and everyone involved at the club.

“I think Mac is doing a great job; he’s working tirelessly behind the scenes if I’m honest trying to fix things and, at the end of the day, he’s not going out on the pitch making the mistakes, dropping the balls and missing tackles. “As a player we need to fix things up ourselves.”

McGuire has been part of Leeds’ golden generation, winning seven Super League titles himself, so concedes his start to life as skipper is not what he expected.

The former Great Britain star took over from Kevin Sinfield at the end of last season when his half-back partner switched codes with Yorkshire Carnegie.

But he has managed just four games so far after injuring his knee in the opener against Warrington, then straining a calf and - after only two games back - being sidelined again.

After another month out of action, McGuire returned against Castleford but was helpless to prevent another loss and the stricken champions face Wigan Warriors next at St James’ Park on Saturday.

“It’s pretty tough to be honest,” admitted the player, who debuted with Rhinos in 2001, when asked how the current situation is for him.

“It’s probably the toughest time for me since being involved with the club.

“We sit at the bottom of the table, are not involved in the cup any more and our performances have been no where near what we’re capable of.

“It’s a really testing, tough environment to be in at the moment

“It’s not how I envisaged the start of my captaincy - getting injured after 27 minutes of the first game to this - and it’s gone the opposite to how I imagined.

“But I’ve had lots of good times over the years here and this is just bit of a rough patch.”