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Last Updated: Tuesday, 8 January 2008, 15:56 GMT
McClennan wary of Saints backlash
Brian McClennan
McClennan is gearing up for his first season in Super League
New Leeds coach Brian McClennan insists St Helens will be the team to beat when Super League XIII starts next month.

The Rhinos beat Saints 33-6 in last year's Grand Final at Old Trafford, but McClennan expects Daniel Anderson's side to come bouncing back in 2008.

"St Helens have been the top club in the last two years without a doubt," said the former New Zealand boss.

"They have been very, very dominant and, to me, they are the club to watch out for big time."

In fact, McClennan anticipates Leeds coming under threat from several teams and says everyone faces a battle to make the top six.

606: DEBATE

"You've got something positive to say for all the clubs - Bradford, Wigan, Warrington, Hull - you can go right through it," he said.

"There wouldn't be too many people who would be able to pick the correct six and that's great for the game. It's very exciting."

McClennan, who has replaced Tony Smith, has seen Leeds lose to Wakefield but beat Hunslet in their two warm-up games to date.

But he will call upon several of his Great Britain and New Zealand internationals for skipper Kevin Sinfield's testimonial match against Oldham on Sunday.

"We've got the number one side out," said McClennan.

The international boys have only just come back but they've come back good

Brian McClennan

"The team that won the Grand Final will play on Sunday. I asked the players if they were available and wanted to play.

"The international boys have only just come back but they've come back good. They've looked after themselves and every one to a man wants to play for Kevin.

"I'm really happy, It shows how much respect they have for Kevin and how highly they regard their skipper and their mate. It's a real good feel-good factor."

Leeds have a slight doubt over forward Carl Ablett, who was on the bench at Old Trafford and sustained a slight hamstring injury in Sunday's win at Featherstone.



SEE ALSO
Blanch double helps to sink Leeds
26 Dec 07 |  Rugby League
Sinfield backs new Rhinos coach
15 Oct 07 |  Rugby League


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