Leeds coach Brian McDermott believes the reigning Super League champions are close to being ‘a very good team’ as they aim to end their five-match losing streak in Super League with victory over Catalans tonight.
In the space of little over a month, Leeds have fallen from being in the race for the top-four to fears of being sucked into another unlikely battle in the Qualifiers this summer.
A win over the ninth-placed Dragons would allay those fears somewhat: and McDermott insists that once they get back to winning ways, they will be okay.
“It’s the same as usual, like it’s been for a few weeks,” he said. “We’re just on the cusp of being very good, and I thought we were great against St Helens.
“You could see the blokes pulling trees up for each other against Huddersfield too, but we lacked that bit of class. We’re not far off being a very good team and as soon as we break this run and get a win – and more importantly, get that performance behind it like we did against Saints – I think we’ll kick straight back into it. We’ve just got to get that first win.”
Injuries continue to deprive McDermott of several frontline players; Richie Myler and Stevie Ward remain out with concussion and Ryan Hall is away on international duty – but there will be a debut for Luke Briscoe tonight.
And McDermott has explained just what an injury crisis does for a rugby side on a day-to-day basis, saying: “I could mention to you four or five blokes who get used week-in, week-out and they don’t have a rest, and squad rotation is not an issue.
“But they’re on the field every session, and usually with a 25-man squad, there’ll be two or three blokes who fancy a session off here and there because it’s hard, running five kilometres every day. You can tell one or two of them through the course of the year to stay indoors and be looked after, but we don’t have that luxury right now. When the injured lads come back, we’ll be good.”
And like his own side, McDermott believes Catalans are close to discovering dangerous form in Super League.
He said: “They’re a team who aren’t far off being in-form. They were 18-0 up at one stage against Huddersfield and they dismantled them for a period, so they’ll be a determined team. We had a battle out there against them recently and I thought we had the game at one stage, but as has been usual, we lacked that bit of class.”