McDermott quick to quell excitement over Quins success

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The Independent Online

Harlequins' coach Brian McDermott has been damping down excitement over his side's unexpectedly successful start to the Super League season. The London-based team have won three of their first four games, their best start since 1997 when they eventually finished second to Bradford.

"We know there's a long way to go, but it's good for the boys to see what we have been practising has been coming off on the field and the hard work is being rewarded," said McDermott, who claims to be indifferent to Quins' current league position in the group chasing Leeds at the top of the table.

For today's visit by Huddersfield, he is still without Scott Hill, but Chris Melling has been considered fit enough to make the squad for the first time this season. The Giants have recovered from a shaky start to win their last two games. The pairing of Kevin Brown and Luke Robinson at half-back has started to click and in Rod Jensen Huddersfield have a player who can score from anywhere on the pitch.

Two teams with similar records of three victories so far meet at Warrington this evening when Wigan are the visitors. The Wolves have Matt King back after a two-match absence, but Paul Cullen might leave out Kevin Penny after his uncertain beginning to the season.

After a sensational second half of last season, the young wing man has scored just once this time and has been caught out defensively on occasions. This might seem like an appropriate time to rest him. Both sides are without an injured prop, with Paul Wood out after dislocating his shoulder and Eamon O'Carroll coming in for Wigan's Paul Prescott. There is still no place for Mark Calderwood, although he has now recovered from his broken ankle and has been playing in the reserves.

The Catalan Dragons' coach, Mick Potter, might bring back Jamal Fakir for the visit of Bradford. The second-rower has hardly played for a year, but made a successful comeback with the Catalans' sister club, UTC, last weekend. Bradford are without Joe Vagana, so Sam Burgess could move up to front-row, whilst Terry Newton returns at hooker.

Among the weekend's Challenge Cup third-round ties, Leeds Met – the first student side to progress this far – welcome Ellery Hanley back to Headingley as coach of Doncaster. The best prospects for an upset could be Wigan St Patrick's against Workington, who conceded 88 points to Halifax last week.

Castleford have signed 20-year-old standoff or loose forward, Luke Helliwell, from Bradford on an 18-month contract. "We have been monitoring Luke and believe that he has the talent and ability to play first-grade football," said the Tigers' Mick Robinson.

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