McDermott defends players and discusses changing culture at Toronto

Toronto coach Brian McDermott says he has worked to change the culture among his playing squad since taking over.

McDermott says that he has “gone through a process” to remove attitudes of “taking players off the ball and fighting”.

The former Leeds boss succeeded Paul Rowley in the role at the end of last year.

McDermott told reporters after last night’s win against Leigh: “The team that I took over, when it got close to it, started to think that taking people off the ball and fighting and showing bravado was the way forward.

“So my team has gone through a process there, and we haven’t always gotten it right throughout the year.

“But Jon Wilkin said at halftime, and it was a really good call from a senior player, ‘this is such a good test of who we are’ and ‘of how we’re going to play’.

“When it gets tough in Super League next year, what will we be like? Are we going to stay on task or are we going to go swinging at the opposition?

“I’m really pleased with what we did today.”

McDermott reflected on an incident in the first-half that saw Gadwin Springer sin-binned after retaliating to Jake Emmitt.

“My fear is you start talking about play-offs and whether or not he’s allowed to play in play-offs because of suspension, so there’s the frustration.

“It’s solely up to the referees.

“If I come and punch you in your face, the law of the land says you’re allowed to defend yourself and punch me back.

“But in sport you can’t and as soon as you return the punch you get penalised as well.

“Jake Emmitt, who used to play for this club, gets ‘dealt with’ by this team when he’s carrying the ball or making a tackle, and then just gets up and slaps one of my players in the face.

“I can’t realistically say, although I do, ‘put your hands in your pockets fellas and don’t retaliate’. I can’t. It’s hard.

“One of the toughest things I ask players to do is never retaliate.

“So the referees decide, even with the way players speak across the line at each other, the referee can get hold of the game and say ‘no, we’re not allowing that today’.

“It’s a shame it took 25 or 30 minutes and all the illegal stuff we had to cop for, before we found a rhythm in that game.”