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McDermott - I am panicking
Rhinos boss concerned his players are in a comfort zone
I don't want to be messing about and waiting while this mythical back end of the year before Leeds switch on. It's a very dangerous route to go down.
Quotes of the week
Brian McDermott admits Leeds are in danger of taking a "very dangerous route" in their Super League title defence after losing to St Helens.
The Rhinos went down 31-18 in the first Monday night match shown on Sky Sports, leaving them stuck down in eighth place in the table.
They found themselves in a similar situation last year before climbing to fifth at the end of the regular season, then going on a six-match winning run in the play-offs to be crowned champions at Old Trafford.
However McDermott does not want his team to have to perform a repeat, even questioning whether his players are currently in a comfort zone after their great turnaround in 2011.
"I am panicking," he said.
"I know everybody else is talking about what happened last year. I don't like being eighth. I want us to come top and finish league leaders.
"I don't want to be messing about and waiting while this mythical back end of the year before Leeds switch on. It's a very dangerous route to go down.
"It's not helping this group that everybody else is saying it's alright because of what Leeds did last year.
"This group responded last year to things that were said. It was a desperate, dire situation last year and we saw the best of that group of players.
"I've just questioned them whether they're in the comfort zone, thinking that mythical back end is going to happen for us.
"It couldn't be further from the truth as far as what we're trying to achieve."
Leeds led twice against Saints in the repeat of last year's Grand Final before their opponents scored 19 unanswered points in the final half an hour.
"I knew it was going to be a tough game," added McDermott.
"It pains me to say it but I think St Helens wanted that game more than we did.
"In spells we were good. We had lot of passion and desire defensively but in spells we were poor.
"There were a couple of soft tries to start with. We switched off on an offload. I thought overall at crucial times in the game Saints moved quicker than we did."
Jonny Lomax led the way for Saints with two tries, a pair of goals and a late one-pointer that sealed his team's double over their opponents in 2012, following a 44-6 win at Langtree Park back in March.
"I thought defensively we weren't too bad last week and tonight we got our offence right," said Saints' caretaker head coach Mike Rush.
"Little passes stuck and, when we get in a groove and play with a little bit of a tempo, we're a pretty strong team.
"We've not moved away from our principles, we just tried to get players to believe in themselves and I think you saw today we've got a lot of quality players.
"I thought Jonny and Lance were very good for us today and I thought TP coming back made a difference."
The interim coaching team of Rush and Keiron Cunningham have now won eight of their 10 games in charge, the only defeats coming at the hands of arch rivals Wigan.
They face the Warriors next at Magic Weekend but seem certain to be without Tommy Makinson, the winger having been taken to hospital with concussion after a high shot from Leeds skipper Kevin Sinfield.
The England international, who scored his 3,000th point for the club during the game, was put on report for the challenge but McDermott is confident he will not face any further action.
"Kev's hand inadvertently clocked him around the head," he said. "It's potentially dangerous but I don't think there was any intention there.
"It knocked him out, though, so I don't have any grievance over the penalty."
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Super League Table
|9||Hull K R||21||18|
|10||Salford Red Devils||22||17|
|13||Bradford Bulls *||21||2|
|Saturday 26th July|
|15:00||London Broncos vs Hull K R|
|Sunday 27th July|
|15:00||Bradford vs Wigan|
|15:00||Warrington vs Wakefield|
|15:00||Huddersfield vs Catalan Dragons|
|Thursday 31st July|
|20:00||Wigan vs Salford|
|Friday 1st August|
|20:00||Hull vs St Helens|
|20:00||Catalan Dragons vs Warrington|
|20:00||Leeds vs Bradford|
|Sunday 3rd August|
|15:00||Widnes vs Hull K R|
|15:00||Wakefield vs Huddersfield|
|Friday 25th July|
|Salford 18 - 22 Leeds|
|St Helens 44 - 22 Widnes|
|Thursday 24th July|
|Hull 18 - 18 Castleford|
|Sunday 20th July|
|Hull K R 18 - 38 Salford|
|Huddersfield 52 - 26 Bradford|
|Saturday 19th July|
|Catalan Dragons 40 - 6 Wakefield|
|London Broncos 16 - 58 St Helens|
|Friday 18th July|
|Wigan 56 - 10 Hull|
|Widnes 28 - 14 Warrington|
|Thursday 17th July|
|Leeds 24 - 24 Castleford|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Stevo with skysports.com