Rhinos: Mac not expecting a derby try blitz

Brian McDermott.
Brian McDermott.
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BOSS Brian McDermott isn’t expecting another try spree when Leeds Rhinos visit Wakefield Trinity Wildcats in two days’ time.

The teams shared 14 touchdowns when they met at Headingley Carnegie last month, Leeds edging it 44-40 on goal kicks.

McDermott believes Rhinos are in better physical and mental shape now than they were then, with six straight wins under their belt and more than a full week’s rest since their last game.

“Ten of our 17 had played for England or England Knights 48 hours before and I found it hard to be critical if they weren’t able to defend some of Wakefield’s tries towards the end of the game,” said McDermott.

“I don’t envisage anything like 84 points being scored this time. Our form is okay, but we have got to keep our feet on the ground and not get too carried away with ourselves.

“We are expecting a tough, physical game and we have got to be really focused and make sure we stay tough and keep patient.”

Wildcats haven’t beaten Rhinos since a 28-18 success at Belle Vue in February, 2010.

That was their only home win over Leeds in the Super League era, but McDermott predicts the home team will present a “challenge” on Monday evening.

Wildcats are on the back of a 35-14 win at Huddersfield Giants six days ago, their third win of the year over top-eight opposition.

“They had a good win against an out-of-sorts Huddersfield, but are a team who still have a very good squad,” McDermott said.

“They are playing to their strengths. I remember Richard Agar speaking after we played them in the cup and he said Wakefield were playing to the strengths they’ve got and that is smart coaching and management.

“He has looked at their strengths and weaknesses and they are playing to that. Ben Cockayne and Peter Fox are a big part of why Wakefield challenge you.

“They will miss (injury victim) Paul Aiton, but Tim Smith is doing a good job for them, they have good players across the board and Kyle Amor is sure to want to step up.

“We have got a challenge going there.”

Meanwhile, Rhinos have confirmed that they will play in their alternative pink kit when they face Warrington Wolves in next month’s Carnegie Challenge Cup final.

Rhinos chief executive Gary Hetherington said the decision over which team will wear their first-choice home strip at Wembley was made by “mutual agreement”.

He added: “When we played Warrington in the final two years ago both teams wore their home kit and there was a clash.

“It was agreed we would wear our pink kit this time and they would wear their home kit.

“It wasn’t an instruction and there wasn’t a coin toss, everybody accepts that is the most striking colour contrast.”

Rhinos did win the flip of a coin to decide on the teams’ pre-match hotels, with both clubs wanting the same south of England base.

l Former Wakefield captain Jason Demetriou is to step down as player-coach of Championship club Keighley after just one season to return to his native Australia.

The Cougars have announced that Paul March, formerly coach of Hunslet, will succeed Demetriou from next season.

l Sharlston Rovers will host a charity game tomorrow in aid of the Yorkshire Air Ambulance and Laura Crane Cancer trust.

The match, organised by Ashley Bond, kicks off at 1pm and will see two teams of Yorkshire Ambulance Service personnel going head to head.

An auction will be held after the game.

Leeds Rhinos' Kallum Watkins.' Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe'4th May 2018.

Kallum Watkins’ season over for Leeds Rhinos due to ACL injury