Rugby League - McDermott upbeat ahead of Saints clash

Leeds coach Brian McDermott is confident there will be no World Club Challenge hangover when his side return to Super League action at St Helens.

PA Sport
Rugby League - McDermott upbeat ahead of Saints clash
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Brian McDermott insists Leeds' focus is on the Super League

McDermott feared in the immediate aftermath of the Rhinos' 18-14 defeat by Melbourne last Friday that it would take some time for the wounds to heal but, on reflection, now believes there were lots of positives to take into their league campaign.

"Whilst no one at the Rhinos will ever be satisfied with a loss, we were able to take encouragement from our performance. We have always known that we have Saints next up and that is what our focus is now on.," McDermott said.

"Everyone was a bit down after the game but, when we reviewed the game on Monday, we were able to see the match in a different light and we played really well.

"We opened up Melbourne on a number of occasions, which not many sides will do, and we pushed them all the way."

St Helens have won their last five home meetings with Leeds and the Rhinos have particularly painful memories of a 46-6 hammering on their first visit to Langtree Park last March, when the Leeds players were left red-faced after dying their hair for charity.

"I think it is fair to say that St Helens have done a job on us in the last four meetings between the two sides and for the last two seasons we have not performed well against them," McDermott admitted. "We are certainly ready for a big performance after last week and are looking forward to it."

After making a disappointing start to the season under new coach Nathan Brown, Saints got their campaign up and running with an impressive win at Bradford last week and he is hoping for more improvement against the champions.

"I'm sure we will improve again," Brown said. "History says that this club gets up for games against Leeds, Wigan and Warrington and I'm sure the effort will be good and we will improve this week.

"It will be a good challenge. They are a good side and did the English competition proud against Melbourne too."

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