We’re in better position than last year, says Mac

Leeds Rhinos coach Brian McDermott believes his side are in a better position this year than they were during their Challenge Cup success 12 months ago.

McDermott will aim to guide Leeds to a second straight cup final tonight by beating St Helens at Warrington’s Halliwell Jones Stadium – which would put the club within a win of retaining their Challenge Cup they won last year.

And McDermott believes that the Rhinos have gone into the cup without the shackles of their cup hoodoo hanging over them – and that has raised the confidence levels in the camp.

“There is less pressure to not lose but there is equal desire to win – and in actual fact we’re in a better position now. We’re more confident than we were last year. We look forward to it more,” said McDermott.

“Relaxed is probably the wrong word but the pressure that the group felt – and I certainly felt – to get the job done was immense leading into the final against Castleford. I think relief overrode most other emotions. And I think that has helped us this year. We’ve almost gone into the competition with the shackles off.”