Under-pressure Rhinos coach backed by chief executive

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Leeds Rhinos coach Brian McDermott has received the backing of chief executive Gary Hetherington following the club's humiliating 66-10 defeat to Castleford Tigers.

Treble-winners two seasons ago, the Rhinos endured a miserable 2016 campaign that saw them miss out on the top eight, but Thursday's trouncing at The Jungle arguably represented a new low.

While the Tigers' superb attacking play, which saw them run in a dozen tries, was to be admired, an injury-hit Leeds were second-best by an alarming margin and Hetherington was far from impressed.

He was quoted by the Yorkshire Evening Post as saying: "Cas were exceptional, but even so no Super League team should concede 12 tries - it was desperately disappointing and embarrassing for us all

"Without taking anything away from Castleford, who were very good and have been so far this season, we were really poor from start to finish. We didn't compete in any phase of the game. At this early stage of the season everyone in the organisation is now under pressure to react accordingly."

However, Hetherington added: "There is constant pressure on the coaching staff and all the players and that's why you have to employ people who can manage that and do their job well.

"Brian McDermott has always been strong at times of adversity. Not many coaches could have got through last year. He showed his strength through a long period of time and we need our senior players to be strong - and to be back on the field as soon as possible."

Castleford, meanwhile, revealed that their CEO, Steve Gill, had been the victim of a "vicious assault" in the town on Friday.

"On behalf of everyone here at the club we wish Steve a quick recovery," read a club statement. "We'd like to take this opportunity to thank the emergency services for their quick and professional response."