LEEDS RHINOS head coach Brian McDermott says whoever lifts the League Leaders’ Shield this season will be the worthiest victors in its history.
He feels his own side may have to win all six remaining games, starting with tonight’s trip to in-form Salford Red Devils, to finish top for the first time since 2009.
Just four points separated the leading five clubs heading into this round.
“It (winning all six) is an option, and something we’ll have to consider moving forward,” said McDermott, his side currently trailing front-runners St Helens by just two points.
“If that’s what it takes, then so be it. Whoever finishes as league leaders this year will be the most worthy league leaders of all-time.
“Since we started to value league leaders a few years ago, I think this year’s winners could be regarded as the best yet.
“It’s good to win it, but people’s involvement in the Challenge Cup and the play-offs has exceeded most expectations over finishing top.
“However, this year everyone wants to be there; Warrington, Castleford, Saints and Wigan are all in the mix with us, and we want to finish equally as well.”
Despite winning six Grand Finals, the only other time Leeds have taken pole position was in 2004, the year of their maiden Super League title success.
Ambitious Salford, of course, had spoken about breaking into the ‘Big Four’ monopoly themselves at the start of the season.
Backed by Marwan Koukash’s millions, his optimism did not initially transform onto the pitch.
But current coach Iestyn Harris has revived them and they are now seeking a fourth successive win which will at least keep alive hopes of reaching the play-offs.
“They gave us a few scares earlier in the season at Headingley and I’m sure they’ll be hanging their hat on that performance,” said McDermott, his side having led just 6-4 at the break before eventually easing to a 32-4 win.
“I know Iestyn was aggrieved they lost that game, which he was probably right to be.
“Their recent form is certainly grabbing headlines, but we’re aware of how good a team they were before that.
“Any coach needs time to settle in and some of the things Iestyn has done in such a short space of time – a few months – has been really good. It’ll be a good game.”