McDermott wants to see ‘cowardice’ removed from game

Leeds Rhinos' head coach Brian McDermott ('Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe).
Leeds Rhinos' head coach Brian McDermott ('Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe).
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Leeds Rhinos’ head coach Brian McDermott is “irritated and disgusted” that the sort of illegal tackle that sees Huddersfield Giants star Brett Ferres sidelined for up to four months still occurs in the sport.

He is the latest to speak about the ‘cannonball’ challenge that Salford Red Devils’ Rangi Chase made against his England colleague on Good Friday.

The stand-off misses Salford’s game against Leeds on Sunday as he starts a seven-match ban for the Grade E dangerous throw which, essentially, was an attack on Ferres’s standing leg when the second-row was held up in a two-man tackle. Huddersfield head coach Paul Anderson labelled it “cowardly” and, with Ferres potentially facing surgery on his damaged ankle ligaments, McDermott went further still.

“If any of the Rhinos players did anything like that I would bring them into line straight away,” he said.

“They would not play next week, they would be embarrassed and ridiculed within the group. That’s not our version of toughness.

“It’s not good and you wonder why those tackles are still in the game. I can’t imagine it goes through Rangi Chase’s head to do that on purpose, I can’t imagine he’s done that with any sort of intent. But at the same time, I can’t imagine why you’d aim so low and do it so aggressively. I think it is a disgusting tackle and it irritates me that those things are still in the game.

“Without trying to be controversial, it is wrong, just so wrong it’s untrue. It is not toughness. There’s a few words I know that get bandied about to describe those type of tackles.

“The teams that employ those type of tactics talk about malice or toughness, or butchering is another phrase I’ve heard.

“The only word I’ve got is cowardice. I hate it, I wish we could just get rid of that philosophy. You will always have a tackle in a game that will go wrong and someone gets injured; that’s the nature of our game.

“But to go out with intent just smacks of two or three school kids holding up a kid against a wall, a bully hitting him in the face while he can’t do anything about it and them all running off slapping each other on the back saying ‘aren’t we tough?’”

Huddersfield moved swiftly to try to replace Ferres by signing Jordan Cox, a 22-year-old utility forward, on a month’s loan from Hull KR on Wednesday.

He will debut against champions St Helens on Sunday, but another player who may have helped fill the sizeable void has cruelly missed an opportunity.

Jacob Fairbank broke an ankle while on dual-registration with Halifax during Monday’s win over Hunslet Hawks and scans have shown he, too, is set for a lengthy spell out.

The 25-year-old, who has always found Huddersfield first-team opportunities limited, also suffered ligament damage and Giants managing director Richard Thewlis said: “It’s another bad blow for him.

“He was only saying the other day how much he was enjoying regular week-in, week-out rugby after his first uninterrupted off-season for a long time and was keen to push his way into Paul Anderson’s thinking.”