Tommy McGee says he wasn’t surprised tomorrow’s opposite number Lee Blackett went into coaching – because he was never short of an opinion.
The two were for a long time team-mates at Leeds Carnegie and meet for the second time as head coaches when Yorkshire visit Rotherham Titans tomorrow in the Championship.
McGee got the upper hand back in December when Carnegie turned in one of their best performances under the stand-in head coach to defeat their White Rose rivals in the British and Irish Cup.
They return to Clifton Lane tomorrow with just three points separating the two teams as they bid to keep alive their play-off hopes.
Asked if he was surprised Blackett went into coaching, after taking the Titans job nearly two months ago and transforming them into promotion candidates in his first full season, McGee said: “Not really with Lee.
“I knew he was interested in coaching, he was very forthright with his opinions and his views, and I know a few years ago he was doing some university coaching.
“He’s a very passionate bloke, he comes from the area, he’s done a fantastic job with the club and that group.”
There appears to be a little tension between the two, given how much is at stake and how both clubs really relish getting one over the other.
McGee said: “I think Lee was very disappointed last time because we said we needed to be at eight out of 10 to have a chance of winning, but the same applies this week.
“We need to be at our most intense and be tactically spot on to be in with a chance of winning.”
If the win at Rotherham was a good day in McGee’s short reign, last Sunday’s comprehensive win over Nottingham in the Championship was another.
It was the kind of performance that has restored self-belief in the Carnegie camp, but McGee is wary of being too over-confident.
“I really enjoyed watching the fellas play that way, really express themselves and that’s how much we want to play as often as we can,” he added.
“Headingley and the weather that day allowed us to play that way. Tomorrow will be a completely diffferent day down at Clifton Lane.
“We won’t be resting on our laurels because we had a similar situation recently where we won against Moseley and then lost the following week at Doncaster.
“We’ve learned those lessons and used those experiences for us to kick on this week.
“I’m not reading anything into Rotherham’s (inconsistent) form because Doncaster had lost their last eight, nine, 10 games or whatever it was.
“It’s a local derby, they’ll be desperate to beat us, we’ll be desperate to beat them.”
Jack Walker returns from England Under-20s duty and is expected to go straight in at hooker.
Mike Myerscough is out while Richard Beck will also be rested. David Doherty returns on the wing.