Leeds Rhinos 24 Hull FC 43: Challenge Cup semi-final reaction
Rhinos boss Brian McDermott paid tribute to Hull’s performance in the sem i-final at Doncaster’s Keepmoat Stadium and backed winger Tom Briscoe, who had an unhappy afternoon on the end of Marc Sneyd’s pin-point kicking game.
Hull will face either Wigan Warriors or Salford Red Devils - who meet on Sunday - in next month’s final. Radford, who masterminded last year’s Cup final triumph against Warrington Wolves, said: “Everything went to plan.
“What we set out to do during the week and we highlighted, it was one of those where everything was executed to nigh on perfection.
“The effort and willingness to work for one another was really special.
“When there’s that much at stake at the end of the game, it’s phenomenal - really pleasing.”
Radford felt it was Hull’s best performance of the season.
“Especially in the second half,” he said.
“How we starved them of field position in that second period was really pleasing to watch.
“It was one of those when you get a sense you are ‘on’.
“I felt like that, I’ve felt that throughout the week and it all came to fruition.”
Sneyd walked away with the man of the match award and Radford saluted a “really smart” performance.
He said: “He has been off the last couple of weeks, but I thought he took control of the game and got the teamm around the field.
“His kicking was second to none.”
Hull captain Gareth Ellis described it as a “massive” team performance.
He added: “I thought the way we played was outstanding.
“Our failings over the last three or four weeks and how we’ve worked on those failings in training built for this performance.
“I thought we executed the game plan almost to perfection. It was only Danny McGuire’s kicks that caused us any problems.”
It was McDermott’s first semi-final defeat as Leeds coach, after three previous wins.
“I thought Hull were very good,” he reflected.
“There’s maybe a bit in there where I could be critical of my team, but I thought Hull were just really good.
“In that second half they were a bit too strong and had a huge amount of field position.
“I heard Lee Radford say after the game that they stifled us and I’d agree with him.
“Even in the first half, Hull had a bit too much momentum.”
Several of Hull’s tries came after Briscoe failed to cope with kicks.
“It’s something he’ll have to address and it’s something we are addressing,” McDermott said.
“Tommy cops some stick and some questions. I wonder if you would ask the same questions of their winger after Ryan Hall scored two tries past him.
“Tries get scored past wingers every week, but when Tom concedes one, it’s a big issue.”