Brian McDermott believes Leeds have a spring in their step ahead of Melbourne Storm
Last Updated: 19/02/13 11:24am
McDermott believes his side have what it takes to defend their crown on Friday
Leeds coach Brian McDermott believes his players are ready for the fight when they take on NRL champions Melbourne Storm in the World Club Challenge this Friday.
The Rhinos and Melbourne have history in this match, Leeds claimed an 11-4 victory in 2008, before the NRL side exacted revenge in 2010 with an 18-10 triumph.
After a comprehensive 42-14 win over Salford on Friday, McDermott stated his players had a new spring in their step coming into the week's first training session.
He said: "These are the games you want to be involved in. The players couldn't wait to get in.
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"We came in on Saturday morning and put the Salford game to bed and we had a good session this morning. It's already got a good feeling to it."
The "house full" sign went up at Headingley ahead of Friday's showdown and McDermott admits the excitement is building as they look to defend their world crown - following last year's victory over Manly Sea Eagles.
He said: "Headingley is a special place to play. To play in front of a full house is brilliant and to be playing one of the best teams the NRL has produced means it's a special occasion.
"You feel very humbled when you are involved in these games."
McDermott will be without England international Zak Hardaker after he broke his thumb in the win over Salford, with Kallum Watkins and Joe Vickery waiting in the wings.
The Leeds coach isn't the only one who believes playing at Headingley could have a major impact on the game. Melbourne captain Cameron Smith admits playing the Rhinos on their own turf adds to the challenge.
Smith, who inspired his side to victory in 2010, knows the tradition and packed stands will make it a night to remember, but warned his players not to expect an easy ride.
He said: "We've had some success at Elland Road but it's the first time I've had the opportunity to play at Headingley.
"I know it's going to be a pretty intense atmosphere but the boys are excited about the occasion and they're looking forward to getting out there on Friday.
"We know if we don't turn up with the right attitude it's not going to happen for us. We're playing against a world-class team with world-class players."