GUTTED CAPTAIN Danny McGuire says Leeds Rhinos’ players have to accept whatever is thrown at them following their humiliation by Castleford Tigers.
Thursday’s 66-10 drubbing at the Jungle was Leeds’ worst margin of defeat in Super League, the second-highest number of points they have conceded in the competition and their biggest loss against Castleford.
It has provoked a furious reaction from fans – at the ground and on social media – and McGuire said: “We’ve not been good enough so you’ve got to be able to take the criticism on the chin.
“We’ve just got to stick together as a team and hopefully turn it around.
“We’ve got to forget about it and start again. We just have to regroup this week and, hopefully, have a better attitude and a more committed performance.”
McGuire accepts that what Leeds served up two days ago was not acceptable, even from an under-strength team. Leeds were missing five players from the previous week’s win over Salford due to illness, injury or suspension, but McGuire stressed:
We weren’t good enough - we weren’t strong enough and we didn’t work hard enough for each other.Leeds Rhinos’ captain, Danny McGuire
“I don’t want to make any excuses. We weren’t good enough – we weren’t strong enough and we didn’t work hard enough for each other.
“We had a few players on the sidelines who would help us defensively a bit, but the lads who came in I thought they tried – but across the board we weren’t good enough.
“It is hard. When you come up against a team that are full of confidence and playing well and making the right decisions it’s hard to defend and then when you do get the ball you just want to get to the end of your sets.
“We didn’t really challenge Cas much when we had the ball because they were ripping us apart when we were in defence. It was a tough learning curve, but that’s the game – they are playing well at the minute.”
Summing up where Rhinos went wrong, McGuire admitted: “It was tough out there.
I don’t know where to start, just poor – poor composure and we made it easy for Cas.
“Don’t get me wrong, they played some really good stuff and it is really tough to defend on the edges. You don’t know who’s getting the ball, there’s plenty of options and especially if you’re not winning the rucks you can’t look up and decide who you are defending.
“It is tough and they are doing really well, they all seem to know what they are doing as well which makes it tough to defend and when we did get the ball we dropped it too many times or made too many mistakes, especially in that first half.
“We made it easy for them.”
Tigers scored from all Rhinos’ first half errors and McGuire added: “That’s what they’ve been good at so far this year, they are good at punishing mistakes because they are very structured – everybody knows where they are and what they are doing for the team and when they get opportunities they take them. They’ve got some good strike out wide and some very clever players.”