COACH Brian McDermott was “all right” with Leeds Rhinos’ performance, despite their 32-18 defeat to St Helens.
The loss – which ended a seven- match winning run extending over two months – came just six days after Rhinos’ Ladbrokes Challenge Cup final triumph over Hull KR and McDermott admitted that played a part.
“I thought Saints played very direct and very aggressive,” McDermott said after the game.
“I am not going to say Saints won because we were hungover from the Challenge Cup final.
“There was too much dropped ball near their tryline and as the game began to bite too many fellas dropped off tackles.
“That’s my technical assessment, but in terms of what we asked ourselves and some of the challenges we faced, I was all right with that performance.
“I thought it was up there, given the context it was in.”
Rhinos were without Zak Hardaker, Kallum Watkins and Rob Burrow from their Wembley team, but McDermott is hopeful all three could be available for next Saturday’s trip to Catalans Dragons.
“Clearly we weren’t as potent as we would have been had they been in the team,” McDermott conceded.
“But at the same time, I thought what we had out there was good enough and we looked decent for spells in the game.
“Defensively I thought we were very solid for the most part of it, but when we got tired we started to drop off and allowed them a bit more room to win.”
Wigan Warriors will cut Rhinos’ lead at the top to just two points – with three rounds remaining – if they beat Catalans Dragons today.
Meanwhile, Rhinos’ academy has retained its outstanding rating.
Wakefield Wildcats have been rated as ‘good’ after making significant improvements, Castleford Tigers were rated as ‘requires improvement’ but the assessment recognised the strides the club has made since last year.