McDermott out to create history
Rhinos chief predicting tough test in Perpignan
Last Updated: September 19, 2012 7:59pm
Brian McDermott believes last season's Grand Final triumph will count for nothing when they visit Catalans Dragons in Friday night's Super League preliminary semi-final.
Defeat for either side at Stade Gilbert Brutus will see them eliminated from a play-off competition the Rhinos have ruled in for four of the past five years.
Last October saw Leeds become the first team ever to win a Grand Final when finishing outside the top four in Super League, but McDermott believes that achievement counts for nothing this term.
He told Sky Sports News HD: "I don't want to dismiss what happened last year because it's significant, but that's history now - it doesn't give us anything.
"We have got to create our own history again, should we do it again we have got to go through different challenges. We are playing at Catalans this year, we didn't play at Catalans last year, so there are a few different challenges. If we do win it from here it would be equally big (an achievement), if not bigger."
"If we do win it from here it would be equally big (an achievement), if not bigger."
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A 42-20 victory over Wakefield Wildcats saw Leeds avoid their first banana skin at Headingley last weekend.
And McDermott is hoping his players can take the momentum of that victory with them to the south of France.
He added: "It was a decent performance against Wakefield. They had a lot of momentum behind them so it was a big win for us.
"You go over there (Perpignan) and you have other things to contend with that you don't have week-in-week out in Super League. It will be easier if you're in good form and you've got a good performance behind you and hopefully the performance against Wakefield puts us in good stead.
"It's going to be a big challenge though, they're a strong team, it's knockout for both teams now. They lost their first play-off game (against Wigan) and are going to want to turn it around. It's going to be a huge challenge for us.
The Rhinos have been boosted by the return of talisman Danny McGuire for what is now the business end of the play-off campaign.
McGuire, who became Super League's all-time leading try-scorer after touching down for the 200th time against Wakefield on Saturday, did not feature when Rhinos lost to the Dragons 38-34 in August.
But McDermott believes his team are an altogether different proposition with the 29-year-old back in the side.
The Leeds boss added: "He's good for us. He makes other people play well. Everyone expects him to score three or four tries each game and win you games on his own. While he's very good at doing that, he scored five earlier this year against Bradford, he's an extra pass and when he's not playing we lack that extra pass.
"He's one of the ultimate competitors, he doesn't accept anything less than anyone else's best and he does have a bearing on how well we do."