McDermott praises Super League leaders Castleford ahead of West Yorkshire derby

Leeds coach Brian McDermott has praised Castleford ahead of the Rhinos’ trip to face the Super League leaders tonight – admitting he believes they could be a force at the top of the competition for a prolonged period of time.

The Rhinos head across West Yorkshire looking for their first win over Castleford in eight attempts, which would also guarantee second position on the Super League table ahead of the play-offs.

And McDermott says he likes what he sees from the Tigers – but has laughed off any talk of the game meaning nothing.

He said: “This hasn’t come out of the blue, this version of Castleford we see. Their offence has been good for the last three or four seasons; when Luke Dorn and Rangi Chase were there they came up with some stuff all of us weren’t picking, but their defence now backs up.

“If you’re asking me will it continue: yeah, I think it will. I know they don’t like us, I don’t think anyone in Castleford likes us and they’re not shy in telling us what they think of us. You might think there’s not much in it but we want to secure second spot – which we haven’t quite done yet – and we don’t want to lose to them again.”

McDermott also insisted while they have not mentioned the Rhinos’ crushing 66-10 defeat at The Jungle earlier in the year, it is still on the minds of all associated with Leeds.

“It’s not relevant in terms of planning or anything strategic, but it’s still there,” he said.

“If someone busts your nose you don’t forget it. Once the players blow a bit and get a bit gassy, which both teams will do, everything goes out of the window. We haven’t mentioned it this week and we won’t be mentioning it in the build-up because it’s gone, but it did happen, and we won’t forget that.

“We’d like to beat them because they’ve beaten us three times already this year, but I don’t think there’s too much dramatically changed than what they were doing at the start of the year.”

Joel Moon is unavailable due to injury tonight; Jordan Lilley will deputise for the Australian half-back.