Rhinos ready to put record straight
Leeds Rhinos coach Brian McDermott says his players will be out to erase the memory of their shock defeat last August when they take on struggling London Broncos at the Twickenham Stoop tomorrow.
The Londoners pulled off a 32-22 victory to halt the Rhinos’ five-match winning run a week before they played in the Challenge Cup final and boosted their own chances of avoiding the wooden spoon.
The Broncos are once more battling to avoid finishing bottom in Stobart Super League and that, according to former London coach McDermott, makes them dangerous opponents.
“London will be desperate for a win,” he said. “We cannot overlook where they are in their season.
“They have some big game players and have scored a lot of points this year, even if results have not gone their way.
“Last season we came down here on a horrible day, both in terms of the weather and our performance, and that is something I am sure our players will not have forgotten and will want to make amends for.”
The Broncos were hammered 52-10 at Headingley in April but have been largely competitive at home and were victorious in their last game at the Stoop against Widnes Vikings.
Coach Rob Powell, who succeeded McDermott, said: “We go into the game following a win in our last home outing and having competed for 60 minutes at Huddersfield Giants. We therefore want to put in a good performance.”
Catalan Dragons are hoping a return to Perpignan will enable them to kick-start their bid for a maiden Grand Final appearance when Wakefield Trinity Wildcats visit Stade Gilbert Brutus tomorrow.
The French club were within two points of leaders Wigan Warriors a month ago but lost ground after suffering back-to-back defeats before returning to winning ways in a close-fought game at Hull KR last week.
It is almost two months since Catalan last played in Perpignan, having played their last home game against Wigan “on the road” in Montpellier, and coach Trent Robinson is hoping a trip to the Pyrenees can help them scale new heights.
“It’s good to be at home,” said Robinson. “We’ve had some success here this year, although it doesn’t guarantee anything.
“We’ve had a bit of a longer week and been able to prepare well. We went up into the mountains on Monday and had a night together, which was good.”
Robinson is wary of a Wakefield team that are seeking to win in Perpignan for the second successive season and complete the double following a 32-22 home victory in March.
“They have a pretty experimental attack,” Robinson said. “They like to play a lot of second-phase rugby and run the ball on the last tackle which makes them a difficult team to nail down.
“They are playing with a lot of confidence.”
Meanwhile, Robinson is expecting 38-year-old forward Steve Menzies to play three games in 10 days after receiving a call-up for the Exiles’ game against England in Huddersfield next Wednesday.
The former Australian international, who earlier this month became the oldest man to play Super League, missed last year’s inaugural international origin fixture through injury but has been named in coach Daniel Anderson’s initial 25-man squad for the second of this year’s two games.
“Steve is physically in good shape,” said Robinson. “I know he was really disappointed at missing out last year and he was quite excited when he got the call this week.
“It’s obviously not ideal for us but it’s a great concept which I’m pretty happy to support.”
The Dragons’ next game is against Warrington Wolves on Monday week.