McDermott reveals Cup line up
Leeds Rhinos coach Brian McDermott has broken with tradition by announcing his Tetley’s Challenge Cup final team to face Castleford at the start of Wembley week.
McDermott, who is able to select from a fully-fit squad, told his players the line-up for Saturday's clash with the Tigers on Monday morning and announced it a press conference in Leeds.
The unveiling - on a top-table sitting alongside Castleford coach Daryl Powell - took the media by surprise, with coaches frequently keeping their cards close to their chests in an effort to gain an advantage over their opponents.
But McDermott insisted his bold statement did not amount to a show of confidence.
"It's a sign that everybody is fit," he said. "If you were to ask Daryl what our team's going to be, he'd say it and I think everybody else in this room knows what it was going to be. There's no smoke and mirrors."
The Rhinos team will be the one that beat Warrington 24-16 in the semi-finals nine days ago, with centre Joel Moon, utility player Liam Sutcliffe and hooker Paul Aiton set to make their first Cup final appearances.
McDermott said before Sunday's Super League game against London he had only the make-up of his bench to finalise and on Monday he was quick to dismiss the effects of their shock 40-36 defeat by the relegated Broncos.
"This week was always going to look the same," he continued, who rested nine players for the trip to the capital. "Whether or not we'd have beaten London, we would have put that to bed pretty early.
"It was a funny old game. We were dominant for long periods and just fell apart for the final 15 minutes but I'm not really interested in the whys and wherefores of that."
Leeds captain Kevin Sinfield, who is hoping to take part in his first final victory after experiencing five defeats in the last 10 years, will be playing only his second match in five weeks after completing a two-match ban for his dismissal in the 24-24 league draw against Castleford last month but he is not concerned about his lack of match practice.
"It might have been something I'd have worried about 10 years ago but not now," Sinfield told the press conference.
Leeds Rhinos: Z Hardaker; T Briscoe, K Watkins, J Moon, R Hall; K Sinfield (cpt), D McGuire; K Leuluai, R Burrow, J Peacock, B Delaney, C Ablett, J Jones-Buchanan. Subs: I Kirke, R Bailey, P Aiton, L Sutcliffe.