Leeds Rhinos coach Brian McDermott has lit the touchpaper ahead of tonight’s huge West Yorkshire derby with Castleford by suggesting the media have overhyped their achievements so far this season.
The Super League leaders sit six points clear of nearest challengers Salford and Leeds ahead of tonight’s huge clash at Headingley, with the Rhinos looking to reduce that gap to just four with victory in front of a bumper crowd.
But McDermott has warned his Leeds side are gunning for the league leaders – before saying members of the press have acted like they have “invented another version of the game”.
“They’re a good team that are playing extremely well and at times can’t be touched,” he said on Thursday.
“But the way you people (the media) have spoken about them all year is as if they’ve invented another version of the game. I feel you lot have put them on a pedestal and put them under pressure.
“For them to maintain how you people believe they have played would be hard for them.”
McDermott also admits that for his side’s chances of finishing top to remain alive, defeat on Friday night is not an option: meaning Leeds will be ready for their West Yorkshire rivals.
“We’re going for Cas,” said the Rhinos head coach. “Our blokes are going into battle.
“They’re a good team at the top of the tree and six points in front of us.
“We want the League Leaders’ Shield so we’re having a crack. We’re showing up. If we want the League Leaders’, we can’t lose tomorrow night.
“Castleford will be disappointed about their Challenge Cup exit but they need to be more worried about us tomorrow night than being out of the cup.”
McDermott also said the fact Leeds have had a longer turnaround than his side to prepare for the game didn’t concern him.
He said: “I’m not really bothered. Whether it’s an eight-day build-up or a three-day build-up, we’re coming for them tomorrow night and it doesn’t matter how much time we’ve had off. It’s all about Friday night.
“There’s not a better place to be on a Friday night when it’s a big game than Headingley. We had a special night a few weeks ago against Warrington and I think tomorrow’s scoreline will be a bit tighter but I’m hoping it will be a similar type of night. Our crowd buy into these occasions more than most; they’ve got a personality and they see the funny side of things.”