McClennan relishing play-off challenge


Leeds Rhinos coach Brian McClennan is delighted that League Leaders Wigan Warriors stand in the way of the defending Engage Super League champions and a fourth successive Grand Final appearance.

The Rhinos were paired with Wigan in a Qualifying Semi-final on Saturday after St Helens selected Huddersfield Giants in last Sunday’s Club Call announcement and McClennan has expressed his pleasure at having the chance to go up against the Warriors at home.

“It’s a semi-final and with the chance to get through to Old Trafford it’s just hugely appealing to all our players,” he said. “Our Number One goal this season has been to get to Old Trafford. We did well in the Challenge Cup, got to the final but got knocked out on the day which can happen.

“We’re showing some strength now in how we’ve bounced back from that and we’re in a position where we have as much chance as anyone to win the competition.

“We’re glad to be playing at Headingley and we’re really glad to be playing against the most consistent team of 2010. We don’t think we’ve hit out top form yet and what better way to test ourselves than against the team that have been the most consistent throughout the year?”

Leeds beat Wigan by a solitary point two weeks ago in the play-offs to earn a week off and with the teams set to clash again in a knock-out contest this weekend, McClennan’s squad know they will face a tough challenge.

“This extra weeks preparation has been a godsend for us,” said McClennan. “We really needed the break and we’ve got to make sure we make the most of it.

“We’ve got to play better than we did against them last time, I thought we got off to a pretty poor start and we can’t be doing that again or we’ll get punished.

“When we did score against them in the second half last time we let them back in cheaply and we can’t be doing that either. We’ll concentrate on trying to put our best performance on  Saturday night because we haven’t done that yet and it’s high time that we did.”