McDermott hopes Hull are still suffering from Wembley hangover

30th August 2017, 12:42

Leeds

McDermott hopes Hull are still suffering from Wembley hangover

Leeds Rhinos coach Brian McDermott is not banking on Hull FC experiencing a Wembley hangover when they return to Betfred Super League action for a crucial Super 8s game at Headingley on Thursday.

Recent history suggests the Airlie Birds face a tough task quickly re-adjusting to the bread and butter of the league after the highs of a second successive Ladbrokes Challenge Cup final triumph.

Lee Radford's men were top of the table going to Wembley in 2016, but suffered a major blip after their landmark victory over Warrington Wolves, losing four of their last five Super 8s fixtures to miss out on both the League Leaders' Shield and the Grand Final.

Leeds, too, know all about the difficulty of coming down from the euphoria of a Wembley triumph. After finally ending their drought in 2014, they failed to win another game, while two years later, after successfully defending their trophy, they lost their next three matches before re-discovering their form in time for the Grand Final.

"Emotionally when you win, it's a big thing to come down from," McDermott said.

"If you win, the occasion stays with you longer because you have to go do a parade with the cup and everywhere you go people are talking about it.

"When you lose, everybody avoids you and operationally you pretty much get over on the Monday when you are back into work and everybody has a real focus for the game coming up."

McDermott suggests Wigan Warriors will be primed to bounce back in their must-win derby at St Helens on Friday, but knows, too, that Hull need a win this week as they race for the semi-finals hots up.

Hull are three points behind the second-placed Rhinos with just three rounds left of the Super 8s and McDermott believes they are in with a chance of emulating his own club's double-winning feat of 2015.

"I do hope they've been in a pub until Tuesday," McDermott said. "But I think they've got a very credible chance of doing the double, so I think that will be on their mind.

"Last year they were just so pleased to win the Challenge Cup and they would have celebrated hard. But I think this year they will have a bit more about them.

"I know it's a disruptive week and a short turn-around for them, but I think they will be up for the game for sure."

Leeds can secure their semi-final place and take a huge step towards securing home advantage with victory on Thursday. 

"If we beat Hull, we go five points clear and it gives us a bit of distance," McDermott added. "We're aiming to make second spot." 

Leeds have done the league double and won their last 11 home games against Hull, whose last win at Headingley was in September, 2007, but Radford's men knocked the Rhinos out of the Challenge Cup.

"It's all about trying to piece together what's been successful in our three meetings with them this season," Radford said.

"We've now got a four-game battle to get to the play-off semi-finals.

"There's a lot of pressure going into this game because we're still in the running for the top two and I'd love a home semi-final."