McDermott confident Leeds are in good shape as play-offs approach

Leeds coach Brian McDermott admits despite defeat to Castleford last week, he believes his side are in good shape with the play-offs now just a fortnight away.

The Rhinos head into their final two league games knowing that no matter what happens over the next fortnight, they will face the side who finish third at Headingley with a place in the Grand Final at stake.

And McDermott says that while his side will not let up in games against Salford and Huddersfield, they will be ready for their semi-final showdown later this month.

“Rob Burrow just said on the field after the captain’s run that you don’t want to get to a stage where you’ve got to come up with a performance we haven’t come up with for some time,” he said.

“I know the first half against Castleford was flat again; we got distracted and rattled but the second half was great. If you had a script to see how much minerals we’ve got, that was good for us that we put that second half performance in.

“Previously to that, I think we’ve been in decent nick, though. We’re assured enough in attack and we’ve got over some really good teams in recent weeks. And at this stage of the year we’ve done enough to give ourselves confidence. It’s a funny one, these next two games; we don’t want to lose them but it’s all about what happens in a couple of weeks.”

McDermott also believes that despite Salford’s play-off hopes all-but over, he believes they will be a tricky test for his side tonight.

“It was a big win for Salford last week, that raised everyone’s eyebrows with the way they beat Huddersfield,” he said.

“I know they’ve been on a tough run of losses and performances recently and their coach won’t have been happy, but they haven’t been that far away in games. I don’t think we’re facing a team who are fantastically out of form, so they’ll be good.

And McDermott will make changes for tonight’s game.

He said: “There’ll be a bit of change. Brett Ferres comes back off the bench, Brett Delaney has recovered from a problem he’s had – he’s had an epidural this week, which is interesting, so we brought him some flowers and grapes!

“Jack Walker has got a tight hamstring so we’re going to stand him down and Ash Golding will be playing fullback.”