BOSS BRIAN McDermott was “pretty impressed” with Leeds Rhinos’ 32-16 win over Wigan Warriors which kicked off their Betfred Super-8s campaign.
McDermott described it as a significant victory and admitted he hadn’t been sure how his team would react after the disappointment of last week’s Ladbrokes Challenge Cup semi-final defeat.
Rhinos saw an early 10-0 lead wiped out and it was all-square at the break, but McDermott’s men turned on the style in the second half.
Leeds’ win – coupled with defeats for Salford Red Devils and Wakefield Trinity – means they are six points clear of fifth place, with the top-four at the end of the Super-8s set to contest the semi-finals.
McDermott said: “We were pretty good, I was pretty impressed.
“It has been a flat week, the loss in the Cup semi-final flattened everyone.
“I wasn’t sure what we’d deliver, but it was great to see – there was lots of energy and we defended what they threw at us.”
McDermott gave the credit for Rhinos’ response to his players and paid tribute to second-rower Stevie Ward after he scored the first senior hat-trick of his career.
“He is a brilliant player,” McDermott said. “He can carry it like a prop and defend like a prop, but also out-pace people and find a pass.”
McDermott was also delighted with two-try full-back Ashton Golding. “He has got some improvement in his game, but tonight he was very good,” said the coach.