McDermott panicking as Leeds stumble
Leeds coach Brian McDermott is panicking over his side's defence of the Stobart Super League title after a 31-18 home defeat by St Helens left them in the bottom half of the table at the halfway stage.
The Rhinos were in a similiar situation last year before climbing to fifth at the end of the regular season and going on a six-match winning run to secure the title at Old Trafford, but McDermott is not banking on a repeat.
"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."
He added: "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."
Saints half-backs Lance Hohaia and Jonny Lomax, criticised for their lack of creativity against Wigan, were full of invention this time and the visitors' attacking options increased when ball-handling forward Tony Puletua made his comeback from injury from the bench midway through the first half.
Lomax finished the game with two tries, two goals and a drop goal while winger Tommy Makinson produced a wonderful finish for one try before going off with concussion.
"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."