Featherstone Rovers v Leigh Centurions - Impressive Leigh have already set bar high says Brian McDermott
Title favourites Featherstone host their relegated Super League opponents at Post Office Road tonight. It is already being billed as one of the most significant fixtures of the campaign despite it being only the second round.
“It’s going to be a big game,” said McDermott.
“They are a good team. They laid a marker down last week against Whitehaven, who had a brilliant finish to the season.
“They are no slouches so that has set the tone already.”
While Leigh vanquished Whitehaven 50-4, Featherstone had a tougher opener at York, eventually winning 30-12.
McDermott conceded: “(Against Leigh) I think it’s just a case of making sure we don’t take 65 minutes to implement some stuff.
“We traded punches with York for way too long and credit to York, they more than matched us.”
Featherstone could hand a debut to NRL superstar Joey Leilua, the former Canberra Raiders centre who was not involved at York.
“I never wanted him to play in the first game, but we were going to give him a chance,” said McDermott.
“He has had a bit of a peculiar off-season, when he had a boxing match which he trained really hard for right up until December.
“He needed a break; there was no way he could have trained right through and been ready for us.
“We need him to be ready for the end of the year, to be on fire then.”
Ex-Leeds Rhinos prop Adam Cuthbertson could also make his debut after missing the opener against his former club York due to illness.
Meanwhile, with a big crowd expected, McDermott is looking forward to seeing Featherstone fans in numbers again after they made up a large number of the 3,602 attendance at York.
“They do bring a level of expectancy, especially the away fans,” he said.
“They do get behind the players. There were a couple of moments [last week] when it was tough and we came up with the goods. That’s in no small part to do with the fans and how vocal they are.”