Rhinos looked to be heading for only their third opening-game defeat in 20 seasons when Hull KR led 18-4 at the end of the first quarter and 30-16 just after half time. But Leeds staged a stunning fightback to record their first Super League win since July – and their fourth in as many visits to Craven Park – by running in the game’s final 24 points.
Several key decisions went their way and McDermott admitted: “It was a very tough game. We got the result and there’s some things we need to be pleased about, but it was a mixed bag in terms of performance. There were some spells that were very good and others that weren’t so good. Defensively in some spells we were good and in others we were a bit leaky.
“You have got to give Hull KR a lot of credit. Their half-backs played really well, their pack were resilient and I think we might find ourselves a bit fortunate about winning this one. A couple of things went our way, a couple of bounces of the ball.
“We’re happy with the win and there’s some things we clearly need to keep hold of and we are going to keep hold of, but there’s some things we want to correct as well.”
It was Rhinos’ second successive round one win at Hull KR, following a 34-6 victory 12 months ago. But Leeds conceded more than 30 points only twice in 2014 and the coach wasn’t happy at seeing Rovers run in five tries.
“We played a lot better, a lot more controlled here last year,” McDermott reflected.
“Clearly we will get better and we’re going to be better for the run out, but at the same time you don’t want to be conceding too many points.
“We did concede 30 points and we can’t be doing that too often.”
McDermott admitted Rhinos showed resilience to fightback from 14 points down twice in the game.
“That’s something we’ve got to recognise and be proud of,” he said.
“That’s not easily done, but at the same time you’ve got to give Hull KR credit for getting away from us by 14 points twice.
“The momentum swung our way for periods in the game, yet they came back and had a fight.
“We were good in parts, not so good in other parts.
“It may have been an entertaining game and it was nearly a sell-out, so credit to Hull KR as a club.
“It was a good advert for what our competition is all about. The fact they’ve gone away without the win will be disappointing for them, because I thought they played really well.”
McDermott said Rhinos came through the game with no major injury concerns.
RELIEVED COACH Brian McDermott admitted Leeds Rhinos were “fortunate” to begin their Super League campaign with a win.