Headingley Carnegie Insight

In this weeks edition of Headingley Carnegie Insight, Head Coach Brian McDermott looks ahead to this Saturday’s Carnegie Challenge Cup clash against Crusaders at Headingley Carnegie.

HOW HIGHLY DO YOU RATE CRUSADERS?

Crusaders showed on Good Friday against Huddersfield that they are capable of beating anyone on their day and that is just one of the challenges of facing a fellow Super League team at this stage of the competition. Saturday’s game is the only all Super League tie in the Fourth Round but I actually think that is a good thing for both teams. It is a big psychological challenge to manage a Super League team when you are coming up against a team from the lower league. If you win, everyone expects you to do just that, if you win narrowly, it is seen almost like a defeat, and if you lose it is painted as a disaster. But we know exactly what is expected this week. We have been scratchy in recent weeks and we know that we need to continue that progress against a strong Crusaders side.

HOW PLEASING WAS IT TO HAVE JAMIE PEACOCK BACK LAST WEEK?

It was great to welcome back Danny McGuire and Jamie Peacock in our last two games after nearly eight months out of action. I think that we have to careful that we do not expect too much from both of them too soon. It will take them time to get up to speed and, as a coaching staff, we will make sure that we manage that correctly. In the build up to last week’s game there was a lot of focus on them, however they would be the first ones to admit that it will take them time to get back to their best and their team mates made the transition back to playing that little bit easier with two strong performances against Crusaders and Castleford.

HOW IMPORTANT IS THE CARNEGIE CHALLENGE CUP TO YOU?

The Challenge Cup is a big tournament for all the Super League clubs. That goes for the players, the coaches and the supporters and I think at times it is something that we should shout about more in terms of its prestige and history. You know that you will have to beat very good teams to win the competition whether, like both teams on Saturday, you are pitted together in the Fourth Round or at Wembley. I was asked this week if I thought there was a magic ingredient for a team to be a Cup winning team and I don’t think there is a formula for it. What you have to be is good every time you take the field in the Cup. There are no second chances and you must make sure you are focused on the game on that particular day.