SATISFIED BOSS Brian McDermott felt Leeds Rhinos got what they needed from their opening fixture in the First Utility Qualifiers.
Rhinos began their fight against relegation with a 62-6 win at Featherstone Rovers and McDermott was pleased to see his team given a tough workout in the opening 40.
They led 18-6 at the break before cutting loose to score 44 unanswered points and McDermott said: “We needed to get something out of the game, certainly in terms of a win.
“More than that, we had a weekend off last weekend and we needed to be tested. One scenario when you’re playing against a Championship team, with the greatest respect, is that you might just have too much of a dominant day and you don’t really get anything out of it.
“But certainly in that first 40 minutes, that was as tough as any Super League game we’ve been involved in.
“I was really pleased with how we responded. We had a level of concern at half-time that we weren’t able to put on what we were trying to put on.
“Credit to Featherstone defensively. We were pretty clinical just after half-time and nailed a couple of plays which got us a couple of tries and gave us some breathing space and the game took on a different slant.
“I think it was a harsh scoreline on Featherstone. They fought throughout and were more than capable in that first half, but we had just a little bit too much confidence I think.”
Leeds’ win was marred by an injury to Brett Delaney in the second half. McDermott said: “He thinks he has dislocated his kneecap, so we will see on that.”
Brett Ferres suffered a twisted ankle, but McDermott said Danny McGuire (foot) and Joel Moon (knee) came through their comeback unscathed and there were no other major fitness concerns.
“They were a challenging team, Featherstone, that’s why I am really pleased with the result,” McDermott added. “The second half gives the team some confidence, but in the first half we had a good workout, ready for what will be a really challenging Hull KR this Friday.”
Rovers coach Jon Sharp admitted his team, who finished fourth in the Kingstone Press Championship, were taught a lesson.
He said: “We played well in patches.
“Certainly in the first half we were competitive. I thought we put some good stuff together, but ultimately, Leeds were absolutely outstanding from start to finish.
“They ended up with a completion rate of 94 per cent and they had all the big guns firing. I thought they were great.
“We had a real good crack at them, but Leeds were clinical. In the second half in particular, every opportunity they had they executed well and were ruthless.
“They had their foot on our throat and never took it off for 80 minutes, but for us it was a real good lesson; that is how you need to play and this is what we’re going to be coming up against now in the middle-eights.”