In an extraordinary twist at Monday’s Challenge Cup Final press conference, Leeds Rhinos boss Brian McDermott took the unusual step to name his team for the match – five days before the game.
McDermott told a packed press conference that he has a near fully fit squad to select from, and went as far as to actually tell reporters the 17 men who are going to take to the field for Leeds.
“Zak (Hardaker) is going to play full-back,” McDermott said. “Ryan Hall and Tom Briscoe will play on the wings, Kallum Watkins and Joel Moon in the centres.
“Kev (Sinfield) and Mags (Danny McGuire) will be the halves, with Rob Burrow at 9. Then the pack is JP (Jamie Peacock) and Kylie (Leuluai) in the front-row. Carl Ablett, Brett Delaney and JJB (Jamie Jones-Buchanan) are in the back row.
“The bench will be Ian Kirke, Ryan Bailey, Paul Aiton and Liam Sutcliffe.”
“It’s a sign that everybody is fit,” he said. “If you were to ask Daryl what our team’s going to be, he’d say it and I think everybody else in this room knows what it was going to be. There’s no smoke and mirrors.”