Peacock earns McDermott praise
Former England captain Jamie Peacock has been labelled “a machine” by his ex-Bradford Bulls team-mate Brian McDermott, who is now his club coach at Leeds Rhinos and is expecting him to get even better in the twilight of his career.
The 34-year-old Peacock was comfortably the Rhinos’ best player in their 35-18 Challenge Cup final defeat by Warrington Wolves at Wembley last Saturday, when he had to be treated for cramp in the closing stages.
Despite his exhaustive efforts, the veteran forward was the first to put his hand up to play in tonight’s Stobart Super League home match against Salford City Reds, when Leeds will look to pick themselves up for their continued defence of their league crown.
“He walked up to me, actually on the field, and said ‘I’m playing next week, don’t think about resting me’,” McDermott revealed.
“He’s a machine - I’ve just said that to him. It’s not only the stats, he’s breaking tackles and he was one of our best strike players against Warrington. I just thought he was massive in the game.
“At the age he is and how many games he’s played, I think that only helps him at the moment.
“I can see him getting even better as he gets older. There’s going to come a point in time when he can’t do it any more but he’s not there yet, not by a long way.”
Leeds are currently fifth in the table, the position from which they went on to win the Grand Final last season, but they can keep alive their hopes of a top-four finish by completing a third win of the season over the Reds.
Third-placed St Helens, currently above Catalan Dragons on points difference, have the chance to virtually clinch a top-four spot when they host improving London Broncos.
The Londoners looked destined to collect the wooden spoon a month ago when they were four points adrift at the foot of the table, but three successive wins have lifted them above Widnes Vikings and Castleford Tigers into 12th place.
Tonight’s match will be the first for Tony Rea since he was confirmed as permanent head coach, and he says the team have made the most of their week off as they aim to put together their best winning run for four and a half years.
“It’s been a productive week and we’ve worked hard in the break,” Rea said.
“We’re looking to improve the intensity and performance on Friday.”