Rugby League

McDermott is struggling to explain Leeds' sudden dip in form .

No doubt at Leeds says coach Brian McDermott

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Brian McDermott insists there is no self-doubt in the Leeds camp after last season's treble winners slipped to an eighth Super League defeat in 10 outings at the AJ Bell Stadium.

Playmaker Robert Lui returned from a four-game injury layoff to mastermind only the second ever Salford Super League success over Leeds in 37 attempts.

Leeds are unrecognisable 

Leeds, who host in-form Hull FC on Friday, remain second bottom and a shadow of their 2015 selves after the 14-10 reverse.

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But McDermott said: "The players are tight together and the players are strong.

"Its unbelievably frustrating for the injured players on the sidelines watching this unfold. We are going through some experiences together as a group that is not easy.

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Injury woes continue 

"But I don't think anyone is going home racked with self-doubt. It is clear what we need to do and clear how we need to do it."

With nine first-teamers undergoing treatment, Leeds also lost forward Mitch Achurch with an ankle problem.

"Everyone wants their preferred 13 out there," admitted McDermott, insisting he did not feel under pressure. "But I am keen not to keep making it about injuries. Have we got injuries? Yes.

Leeds Rhinos v Widnes Vikings - First Utility Super League

"Could we have won that tonight with the team we had out? I thought we were capable of doing that.

McDermott looks for an explanation 

"There are certain things - and I say it every week - but you try and find a different way of saying it. The level of preparation we haven't been able to do because of the flood (of the club's Kirkstall training ground at Christmas) and the injuries have had a bearing.

"I can't use that line for too long, though. We need to come up with some performances to get us a win. But there are things out of our control."

Delighted opposite number Ian Watson said: "We've not beaten them for a long time. But most importantly we got a win and it puts us back to where we want to be, challenging towards the top end rather than looking below us."

Hull FC v Leeds Rhinos - First Utility Super League

Another lesson learned 

On the performance of ex-North Queensland Cowboy Lui, Watson added: "He is a massive player for us. It is difficult when you lose half-backs and we learned that last season.

"Josh Wood did well for us in the short-term and he has a good future in front of him. But he doesn't have that presence or the vocalness that Rob gives you.

"We looked at a lot of teams who have played Leeds recently and we thought we could come up with a way - if we executed it properly and we defended well - that we would stop them from scoring.

"So, the boys deserve all the credit because they have gone out and put it into action."

Can Leeds turn things around? Have your say in the comments!

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Topics:
Rugby League
St Helens
Warrington Wolves
Leeds Rhinos
Super League
Wigan Warriors

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