McDermott prepared for Murrayfield

Harlequins head into the May bank holiday weekend in seventh position in the Super League table, just two points behind 3rd place club Leeds Rhinos as well as having a game in hand.

Following on from their magnificent win over the Super League champions at Headingley last Friday, head coach Brian McDermott was quick to keep his players’ feet firmly on the ground as they approach their clash with Salford in Edinburgh on Saturday.

Speaking exclusively to Last Tackle, McDermott said of their 21-4 triumph over Leeds: “I thought we controlled what the Rhinos did. The half-backs were instrumental and didn’t worry about what Leeds did, likewise for the forwards. “I told them to remain focussed on the performance and let the scoreboard worry about itself. If the group performance was right, we knew we could topple them.

“Everyone knows that in Super League today that any team who plays well on their day and beat anyone else.”

Quins kept Brian McLennan’s side at bay for almost the entire 80 minutes on Friday, but a late Rob Burrow score prevented an embarrasing nil scoreline in front of the stunned home support.

“As far as I was concerned we did prevent them from scoring. We went 80 minutes without conceding a try before Rob Burrow went over. It wasn’t a try, it was a no-brainer really.

“The obstruction was obvious, if you picked up Jamie Jones Buchanan and moved him out of the way, maybe it would have been a try.

“I told the players that they achieved a nil scoreline afterwards,” McDermott added.

The former Leeds assistant boss banned any prolonged celebrations of the win at his former employers, insisting it was just another two points. The Quins now turn their attention to the Murrayfield Magic weekend, where they take on Salford on Saturday afternoon.

The former Bradford forward said: “We didn’t have any celebrations after last week’s win and had two tough sessions earlier in the week, including a real angry session to cast out the memories of Friday.”

Asked whether the game should provide two points for his side due to Salford’s inconsistency when it comes to results, McDermott was adamant that his troops will have it hard when it comes to getting a result.

“They’ve not got many wins but their performances in the last month or so have proved they’re a good side”, he said of Shaun McRae’s team.

“[Richard] Myler is an outstanding talent. And Karl Fitzpatrick is one of the best full-backs in attack in the league at present, and we expect him to play.

“Their pack is well respected and a lot of what the likes of Myler does is on the back of their work. Craig Stapleton and Ray Cashmere have proved they’re not just NRL journeymen and have done some damage for the Reds of late.”

McDermott was firmly on the side of the RFL when it comes to the Magic Weekend, which has come under much debate since its conception, but he was keen to add that the spring fixture pile-up needs to be eradicated.

He commented: “I don’t mind it personally, a sport like rugby league needs these new innovations. We can’t sit back as a sport in this current financial climate and I admire the RFL for what they have done.

“That said, there is the issue of too many games at this time of year. I’d much prefer this to be our 26th game instead of the 27th.”

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