DESPITE recording their first Boxing Day win in three years, Betfred Super League champions Leeds Rhinos have some hard work to do before the season begins, boss Brian McDermott admits.
Rhinos began their pre-season campaign with a 17-10 win at Wakefield Trinity, whose coach Chris Chester’s Christmas was marred by injuries to two first-choice players.
It was a challenging game and a contest for a lot of it, then really pleasing towards the back end, when we took off our more regular players and put on some of our more irregular players,Leeds Rhinos’ head coach, Brian McDermott
Rhinos scored three tries to two and McDermott was given an indication of what needs to improve ahead of their league opener at Warrington on February 1.
“They are all right these festive games in the middle of pre-season, but we are not ready to play,” McDermott conceded. “We are nowhere near ready for the season.” Even so, McDermott felt Rhinos “looked okay in spells”.
He said: “It was a challenging game and a contest for a lot of it, then really pleasing towards the back end, when we took off our more regular players and put on some of our more irregular players, that we looked okay.”
The coach was happy with try-scoring forwards Mikolaj Oledzki and Jack Ormondroyd and impressed by hooker Brad Dwyer’s first game for Leeds.
“He is going to be good,” McDermott added of the former Warrington man. “He had lots of energy in defence and he doesn’t need any invites to run.”
Richie Myler’s first appearance was ended at half-time due to a bang to the head, but McDermott confirmed he was “okay” after the game.
Trinity lost hooker Tyler Randell to a knee injury after five minutes and prop Anthony England hobbled off in the second half.
“It looks like a medial (ligament injury),” Chester said of Randell. “We are hopeful it’s nothing more serious.
“He will get assessed, go for a scan and we will see how he is.
“I am gutted for the kid because he never normally gets injured, he had a good record at Newcastle (Knights), then he comes over here and he’s had two bad injuries in his last two games.”
Chester is hopeful England’s injury is not long-term, but Ben Jones-Bishop and Kyle Wood also suffered minor knocks, while Justin Horo (shoulder) was out.