TIME FOR LEEDS TO WAKE UP, WARNS MCGUIRE
Leeds star Danny McGuire reckons last week’s defeat to Bradford can act as "a wake-up call" for the Rhinos as they prepare to entertain Wigan tomorrow on Friday.
Leeds star Danny McGuire reckons last week’s defeat to Bradford can act as "a wake-up call" for the Rhinos as they prepare to entertain Wigan tomorrow for the right to face the Bulls in the Tetley’s Super League Grand Final. The Rhinos picked up the League Leaders Trophy after finishing top of the table after the regular season, but a 26-12 defeat in the Grand Final qualifier to the Bulls means Leeds are now facing a win-or-bust shoot-out against Wigan for the right to advance to Old Trafford. "Last week was definitely a wake-up call," said McGuire. "We were way off our game in a lot of areas, and we have had a look at the video this week and corrected a few things. "We know we did not perform to the best of our ability last week but hopefully against Wigan we will turn it on and get the result. "We are looking forward to it because Wigan are a great side with great players all across the park – we know we are in for a tough game but we are looking forward to it. "These are the big games where you have got to go out and perform. The focus is on everyone, not just the half backs and the big-game players. Everyone has got to go out and play to the best of their ability, and I am sure all the boys will do that." The Rhinos fell at this hurdle last year against Wigan at Headingley with a Grand Final clash against the Bulls at stake, but McGuire does not feel this will be a factor tomorrow. He said: "We are not thinking about losing. Obviously to not win after being top of the league for most of the season would be a disappointment, but we are not thinking about losing against Wigan. "We have been training hard all week and we are hoping to put a big performance in. If we do that, the job will take care of itself. "The season will not count for anything if we don’t make the Grand Final – winning the League Leaders Trophy and all the individual awards the players have picked up will not stand for anything. "The Grand Final is what we set out for at the start of the year and the season will be classed as a failure if we don’t. "But we are not thinking about that. We are a confident bunch, we get on with each other, and if we go out and put on a performance like we have all year, we will all be happy afterwards." Leeds will be without half back Andrew Dunemann for the game after he picked up a knee injury last week, and McGuire feels the Australian’s influence will be badly missed come the weekend. "Duners will be a big loss for us," McGuire said. "He has been solid all year for us and he commands a lot of respect from the other boys. "He will be disappointed because he has played a lot this year, but we have all got to carry on and pull together for him really. "Our fans have been outstanding this year – there is no better stand in terms of singing and supporting than the South Stand – and they have been like an extra player for us. It really spurs us on." Tomorrow’s game sees McGuire and Wigan captain Andy Farrell, two of the top performers in Super League, go head-to-head, but the Leeds ace does not see the game as a particularly special opportunity to stake his claim for the much-coveted Man Of Steel award. McGuire added: "All the individual stuff and individual honours go out of the window really when these big games come around. "I am not thinking about stuff like that, I am just thinking about going out there and playing as well as I can. If stuff like that comes up then that is great for me, but I am more for the team and doing well. "Andy Farrell is a great player and we are going to have to watch him carefully, but they have got great players all over the park and if we concentrate too much on him someone else will come and bite us. "He is someone we have definitely got to watch but we are not going to be overly paying attention to him. Wigan have got some great players who are going to test us at the weekend, but we like to focus a lot on ourselves – we don’t worry about the opposition."