AS if reclaiming the Super League crown in your first season as coach is not a tough enough task, Brian McDermott has now been told he must do so in a manner befitting of champions.
Gary Hetherington, the Leeds Rhinos chief executive, has laid down the gauntlet to his new coach to win trophies in 2011 by producing an 'exciting, innovative and creative style of play'.
And fortunately for Rhinos fans – who have hardly been short-changed in recent years by their enterprising team – McDermott is up for the challenge.
"I like it. I think it's a great attitude to have," said the former Bradford and Great Britain prop who in his first job as a head coach championed a more attractive brand of rugby with Harlequins. "It's a club philosophy and I agree with it. If we're not too careful we end up with a massive game of chess where we don't get to see the best the players can be with ball in hand.
"The crux of it for me is that playing a certain style which involves a lot of passing and playing an open style, wins games; certainly for Leeds Rhinos, who have a squad full of skill and talent. I personally don't like to see a boring game of rugby league. I cringe when I see people quote completion rates and talk about errors. I think teams lose games because they don't score enough points."
Leeds's dominance of Super League honours was ended last year by a more defensive-minded Wigan Warriors, and Hetherington said: "The last few years has been dominated by an influx of defensive coaching techniques which effectively strangle the life out of the opposition.
"Whilst these tactics are very effective, they do nothing for the spectacle and I would like to think all coaches could focus their skills on raising the standard of attacking play."
While McDermott is keen to put that into practice, he is quick to acknowledge the right balance must be found. McDermott said: "There are some inconvenient truths about our sport and if you keep dropping the ball no matter what style you play, you won't win many games.
"There's a balance there because I don't necessarily think passing the ball to the end of our sets always gets us there either."
Leeds have cancelled their pre-season camp in Cyprus opting for four days in North Yorkshire.