Leeds captain Kevin Sinfield has waded into the row that has overshadowed the build-up to Friday's Super League play-off semi-final at Wigan.
Rhinos coach Brian McDermott criticised his Warriors counterpart Shaun Wane for calling for Leeds' half-back Danny McGuire to be banned for a high tackle. McGuire was given a one-match suspension by the Rugby Football League's disciplinary committee and Sinfield admits the loss of his inspirational team-mate is a body blow.
"Losing Danny is huge," Sinfield said. "Having lost him around Wembley [for the Challenge Cup final] was tough and I thought we could have handled it better than we did. Hopefully we'll learn some lessons from that and we'll be better this week."
Relations between the two clubs have never been the same since McGuire seriously injured a knee in a controversial try-saving incident during a play-off tie at the DW Stadium two years ago, and Wane's comments this week have threatened to inflame tensions once more.
Sinfield added: "Some of the things that have gone on in the last 48 hours have been pretty poor. In particular, some comments from people outside our organisation I thought were pretty unfair but it's not something we will dwell on.
"We believe we're an honest group, there is a lot of integrity about us and we'll go there on Friday night and do our absolute best.
"It's a huge challenge. I think they're a great side with some fantastic players and they've been the most consistent team this year.
"They've had a week off, we've lost Danny and, when you add them together, a lot of outsiders can see it as a bit of a daunting prospect.
"Not many people expect us to go there and win, but we'll roll our sleeves up, give it our best shot and see where that takes us.
"It excites us. The pressure is certainly off. We can go there with nothing to lose and we won't die wondering. We'll throw everything we've got at them."
- Kevin Sinfield
- Rugby Football League
- Danny McGuire
- Shaun Wane
- Super League