Leeds Rhinos coach Brian McDermott insists there is no sense of déjà vu after his side finished fifth in the league for the second consecutive year.
But McDermott isn’t getting carried away with dreams of another night of Grand Final glory. He says should Leeds reach the final, it will be on the back of his side’s three best performances of the season.
He said: “Maybe we’re in the same position but we have been on a different journey and we have found ourselves here for different reasons and a different route through.
“There are similarities in league placing but the task ahead of us is equally as challenging and equally as big as it was last year.”
McDermott is refusing to acknowledge the 2011 season ended the way it did until this season has come to an end.
He says the team cannot rely on the back of last year’s success, and says that what the team did only proves the league can be won from fifth place.
He said: “The experience of Old Trafford helps you prepare and build up to it but on game day every year has its own story. We don’t start six points ahead because of what went on last year, and we don’t carry on any momentum because of what went on last year.
“We are nowhere hear Old Trafford at the minute, and that is at the end of the road. It would be a mistake planning for it, we have to make sure we get past stage one in the play offs.
“It doesn’t give us any lead or momentum. It may help us in preparation but it all starts from now and my focus is Wakefield on Saturday night.”
Leeds face the in-form Wakefield side, who have won their last seven matches going into the play offs. Their last defeat was a 52-10 loss at home to Wigan, but the Wildcat’s current run of form included a win over Leeds in July.
And McDermott knows Wakefield can knock the Rhinos out of the plays offs, so is completely focused on the task in hand.
McDermott said: “Wakefield conceded a lot of points against Salford but they came up against a determined Salford team who wanted to finish off in style as well. Richard Agar has done a massive job and they are going to come to Headingley very determined.
“We have to face a Wakefield team who are in the top eight on the back of seven straight wins and are playing really well. They know how to beat us at the moment, and that in itself is a massive challenge.”
Leeds have won four of the last five Super League Grand Finals.