Rugby League - McDermott puts faith in youth

Leeds coach Brian McDermott is backing the club's youngsters to help pull the Super League champions through the worst injury crisis in his time at Headingley.

PA Sport
Rugby League - McDermott puts faith in youth

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Brian McDermott is putting his faith in Leeds' youthful squad

The Rhinos had three 18-year-olds in the team that beat Widnes 38-28 in their last match and McDermott is ready to give debuts to two more teenagers against second-placed Huddersfield at the John Smith's Stadium on Sunday.

Alex Foster, 19, and Elliot Minchella, 17, are poised to get their chances in the absence of 10 senior players With Liam Sutcliffe, Thomas Minns and Jordan Baldwinson already making their mark, the future looks bright for Leeds but McDermott believes the youngsters can also have an influence on the champions this year.

"Everybody has a script written for what our season might look like from here on in," McDermott said. "We've got our own script to write and it could be a pretty special story, given what's happening with us at the moment. It's how you deal with injuries which probably determines whether you get to the big stuff at the end of the year."

Huddersfield are looking for a fifth consecutive win over the Rhinos, having knocked them out of the Challenge Cup earlier this year, and coach Paul Anderson is determined not to allow his side to take them lightly.

"I'm not interested in who Leeds have missing," Anderson said. "The fact is you don't become Grand Final champions six times in nine years by not being a good club.

"Leeds have a lot of ability and offensive threat, we just need to be better than them at creating and taking our chances. We won't be taking Leeds lightly. If you are going to take them lightly, then you won't be at the Giants."

London are still waiting for the arrival of Australian half-back Jamie Soward but coach Tony Rea says news of the signing has provided his side with a lift ahead of the trip to Wakefield. "It's timely," Rea said. "The whole club is delighted that (owner) David Hughes has backed that one and the team is really excited by it. We've trained really well this week."

Bradford will be aiming to rekindle their play-off hopes when they entertain Widnes. The Bulls have won just one of their last seven league matches to drop from third to ninth in the table and coach Francis Cummins knows they cannot afford to slip up against the lowly Vikings.

"If you want to make the play-offs, it's important to beat the teams around you and knock over a few of the ones above you so it is important for that but it's also important in where we have been in the last little while," Cummins said. "We just need to play well as a unit and, if we do that, then we will be in for the points against any side."

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