Realistic coach McDermott hopeful Rhinos can pass tough examination

Leeds Rhinos coach Brian McDermott.  Picture : Jonathan Gawthorpe.
Leeds Rhinos coach Brian McDermott. Picture : Jonathan Gawthorpe.
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Leeds Rhinos’ head coach Brian McDermott says his side will get tested tonight for the first time since their season opener.

They visit a Huddersfield Giants team who have won the last five meetings between the West Yorkshire neighbours but are still hurting after a surprising 22-20 loss at Widnes a week ago, having earlier drawn with Hull KR.

Leeds, by contrast, have won all three of their games so far, following up a victory at Hull KR with successes over Warrington Wolves and then Catalan Dragons in Perpignan last Friday.

McDermott said: “We are gradually getting better.

“It was a tough game against Hull KR, we played an out-of-form Warrington and then had a very tough 30 minutes against Catalan.

“After that they pretty much fell away, so while we scored some very good tries and strung together a bit of ball play, we are not getting carried away.

“We know Catalan will get a lot better. The danger is we look at a false dawn and start seeing some signs in us that aren’t really there.

“We haven’t really been tested since Hull KR. I mean that with the greatest respect to Warrington and Catalan, but I know they have got a lot more in them.

“We will certainly get tested in this game. Huddersfield will be good, I can guarantee that.”

McDermott concedes his side have been outplayed by Huddersfield in each of those five defeats, their last win against the Giants coming in a 2011 elimination play-off.

“We’ve been on the wrong end of some results against them over recent seasons, but all of them have been warranted,” he said.

“We tip our hat to them and respect them as a team.

“We know they are going to be very good this week. I don’t think we have any scores to settle with Huddersfield.

“They have beaten us fair and square on all the occasions last year and in recent seasons. They are a good, solid defensive team and a very good attacking team.

“We’ve no gripes with them at all. It will be a decent contest on the strength of the fact it will be two good teams having a crack at each other.

“It is the early stages of the season and they won’t be panicking, but I’m sure they’ll want to play better than they did last week and the week before.”