McDermott: Bench spots open
Leeds Rhinos coach Brian McDermott has challenged his fringe players to state their case for a place in the Challenge Cup Final squad when they face the London Broncos on Sunday.
McDermott says he already just about knows his starting 13 for next weekend's Wembley clash with local rivals Castleford but revealed there are places up for grabs on the bench.
The Rhinos are likely to rest a number of key players at The Hive against the relegated Broncos with Jamie Brett Delaney, Rob Burrow, Zak Hardaker, Kevin Sinfield and Carl Ablett all likely to sit out.
"I'm reasonably close," McDermott said when asked at Thursday's press conference if he knew his best team.
"I don't think I'd be surprising anybody if I was to name my starting 13 now. I think everyone can work that one out.
"But we're not pulling the drawbridge up on the bench. There's a couple of bench spots up for grabs this weekend.
"There will be one or two rested, not a massive amount. We had to stand a few down from the Bradford game and they didn't fully recover.
"We're going to put out a very competitive team for London. We want to go down there and get the points."
Sinfield only returned to action last Saturday from a two-match ban, but McDermott is not worried about his skipper's fitness even if the Wembley game turns out to be only his second in five weeks.
"I reckon Kev would be all right for the final even if he didn't play against London," he added. "In terms of fitness and match fitness, he's got enough miles on the clock.
"He's played hundreds and hundreds of games and he's like a few in the group that keep themselves in good nick. He enjoys training. Fitness is not part of the job for them it's a lifestyle."