The two sides meet later today at Headingley with just one point between them.
"I think the surprise this year was the first four or five games," McDermott is quoted as saying by the Yorkshire Evening Post.
"When you looked at how they played, it wasn't against poor opposition and it wasn't against teams that were playing poorly. They were winning some big games and playing some good stuff as well. They have continued that on and they are a good team.
"They have got a good coach as well. Daryl has done a great job. As a new coach to the competition it is relatively easy to have an impact – change a few things, get them to defend a certain way and get them to put on a couple of different plays. You have an instant impact and you get a couple of headlines. But the quality of him is indicated by how he has kept that going throughout the year."
Leeds ran out 22-14 winners in the latest meeting between the two.