Leeds are one defeat away from their worst losing run in Super League history – but ahead of Thursday night’s clash with Wigan, coach Brian McDermott has insisted he can see more positives than this time two years ago in his squad.
Never before have the Rhinos lost seven consecutive Super League games: and after six losses in a row to press, the reigning Super League champions could be dragged further into the mix for the Qualifiers with a loss at the DW Stadium tonight.
Yet McDermott has played down obvious parallels between this year and Leeds’ squad which ended up in the Qualifiers two years ago.
“I’ve been saying for a few weeks that we’re in good shape and it’s going to come good: I know it is,” he said.
“I couldn’t tell you that a couple of years ago but I can now. I can’t describe to you how good a headspace all the players are in; they’re up for a fight and they’re keen for it. It’s a pleasure to be amongst them.
“We’ve just completed another week’s training and it’s a great position to be in really in terms of what it will look like in two years time. There are some great foundations being put in place and some great lessons being taught.”
McDermott also admitted, however, that it is vital for confidence the Rhinos get back to winning ways sooner, rather than later.
“What we’ve going on is a big bigger than a win at Wigan,” he said.
“When we’re rattling along, a win at Wigan is a big thing and will do us good – and it would do this week. We need a win, whether it’s at Wigan or Timbuktu, let’s go and get two points. There have been some purple patches during games, and I’m trying to convince players that these are good things we’re doing, so getting a win will make that easier.”
McDermott’s quest to get Leeds back to winning ways on Thursday has also been aided by the return of key trio Brad Singleton, Richie Myler and England international Ryan Hall.
And the Rhinos coach said: “All three of those blokes have been good soldiers for us all year, Richie Myler especially – we’ve missed him for those couple of games and it’ll be good to have him back.”