LAST NIGHT’S 28-12 win over champions Wigan Warriors was Leeds Rhinos’ most intense performance of the season – but not their best.
That was the verdict of coach Brian McDermott after Leeds scored five tries to two to return to the top of First Utility Super League in front of a season’s-best Headingley Carnegie crowd of more than 18,000.
It was Leeds’ ninth win in 11 rounds and their points against total has yet to reach 100, but McDermott felt his team could have played better.
“I don’t think it was our best all-round performance,” he said. “I thought our kicking was scratchy and we lost our composure in the second half. We were again a bit leaky in midfield, mid-defence, but certainly emotionally and in terms of the level of intensity in the game that would be the highest we have played this year.
“To have that game in the bag after 60 minutes, that was pleasing.”
But McDermott – whose side travel to Castleford Tigers on Thursday – warned: “We won’t be able to play against quality opposition in the high end games and be as scratchy as we were for parts of that all the time.
“I thought we got away with that. I thought Wigan weren’t at the races for large parts of that game either, so we have got to put that into context.”
McDermott admitted there were some special moments from his team, particularly on defence. He said: “We got asked a lot of questions on an energy level. We were gassed mid-way through the first half and had a lot of tired men out there.
“We had played with an intensity we hadn’t played with for quite a while. We stayed with them and we kept carrying the ball.
“People like Kylie Leuluai and Carl Ablett were the unsung heroes and you attribute tonight to them.”