McDermott remaining grounded

Published: Monday 6th April 2015 by The News Editor

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Leeds head coach Brian McDermott refused to get carried away after watching his side move four points clear at the top of Super League with a 48-22 win over bottom side Wakefield.

The Rhinos were expected to put plenty of points on a Wildcats outfit beset by injury problems and smarting from six straight defeats, and they did just that on a warm afternoon at Headingley Carnegie.

Leeds saw their main rivals – St Helens, Wigan, Warrington and Huddersfield – all lose on Easter Monday, but McDermott was keen to talk down his side’s start to the season.

“There is a fair way to go and a fair few hurdles that we’ve got to overcome,” said McDermott, whose side have won eight out of nine.

“It’s a good position to be in but we’re not getting really excited about it.

“We’re just mindful that there are a fair few challenging sides out there that we’re going to meet in the coming weeks.

“We’ve got to stay focused on what we do rather than look at the league.”

The Rhinos’ latest victory saw two of the club’s favourite players bring up milestones.

Rob Burrow scored twice in the first half to pass 1,000 points for Leeds, while retiring captain Kevin Sinfield became only the fourth player in rugby league history to pass the 4,000-point mark.

“It’s another massive feat for Kevin in his career,” McDermott added. “All the more poignant because of what’s happening at the end of the year.

“For Rob to get a thousand points is a huge achievement.

“They’ve both been, and continue to be, fantastic players for this club and they are great milestones for them both to achieve.”

Ryan Hall, Zak Hardaker and Kallum Watkins joined Burrow in crossing the whitewash as the Rhinos built up a 30-16 half-time lead.

Watkins completed his double after Ash Handley and Andy Yates had helped themselves to tries as the Rhinos romped to their 10th successive home win over the Wildcats.

Wakefield had their moments – scoring through Tim Smith, Craig Hall, Jarrod Sammut and Daniel Smith – but they were left to reflect on another defeat which leaves them four points adrift of eighth place.

Head coach James Webster was in good spirits despite the result and felt the Wildcats gave the table-topping Rhinos a bit of a fright.

“I thought we had a real good go,” he said. “It was an improvement from Thursday night.

“I’ve got some beat up blokes in that changing room but it’s a good experience for us again.

“While we’re not looking overly competitive on the scoreboard at the moment, as a club we’re gaining some valuable experience.

“We’re fielding a team worth £700,000 versus a team probably worth £1.8million, but we’re learning a lot.

“Our focus is the back end of the year – round 23 and onwards – and how we prepare for that. Our goal this year is to stay up.”

Published: Monday 6th April 2015 by The News Editor

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