McDermott ready for Salford threat

Leeds coach Brian McDermott is expecting a tough test when his team travel to the AJ Bell Stadium to meet Salford on Friday evening.

The Red Devils have shown signs of dramatic improvement in recent weeks, and turned in a fine second-half performance to record a convincing win at Hull KR last weekend.

“They’ve been on an improvement for a number of weeks. We struggled against them at out place early in the season, and found ourselves fortunate to get such a good result, really,” said McDermott.

“So we’re aware of the quality of them. They’ve been improving for a number of weeks and got a couple of big wins recently.”

As for key men at Salford, McDermott thinks the Red Devils carry threats from a number of different areas of the park.

“They’ve got a few. I really rate their pack. They’ve got a couple of exciting fellas on the back,” he added.

Rangi Chase – everything goes through him, there’s no secret in that.

“While you can plan and try and stop that, it’s a bigger task to actually go do it.

“The way they defending as well – they’ve got a fair amount of energy and aggression in defence.

“We need to be good.”

This week has also seen Kevin Sinfield handed a two-game ban for his headbutt on Castleford’s Luke Dorn last week.

While McDermott clearly has some reservations about the consistency of the punishment handed to his player, he has accepted the RFL disciplinary verdict and wants to move on.

“Some of the explanations that go into it, if you ever dare ask a question, I find lame,” he said.

“What happened with Jamie Peacock on the ground in the Challenge Cup when we played Leigh, is one of many examples there has been where there are headbutts that you can see.

“But Kev made contact with his head, you can’t get away from that. What Kev did was wrong, I’ve no problem with that.

“If that’s the category of punishment that you align with headbutts – then cool.

“Let that be it, then, and let’s not change the goalposts for other versions.”

As for aims for the rest of the season, the Leeds coach is unequivocal about what the Rhinos are targeting.

“We want to finish top,” he asserted.

“But we recognise that there’s a few more teams who want to finish top.

“It’s going to be a tough contest. It’s going to be a fight right to the end.

“It’s great for the competition, and it’s good that everybody’s nipping at everybody else’s heels.

“For us to be able to finish top we need to be very good from now until the end of the year, and have a level of consistency.

“I think having some people back from injury, and having some consistency of selection, will have a bearing on that.”

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