ADMIRING BOSS Brian McDermott hailed the contribution of Jamie Peacock (pictured) and fit-again Jamie Jones-Buchanan (pictured) to Leeds Rhinos’ 22-18 win at Salford Red Devils.
Jones-Buchanan made his first start since a series of injury problems and contributed a strong defensive stint, particularly in the final moments when Salford threatened to snatch an equalising try.
“He can get energy when he’s tired,” McDermott said. “He can get it from somewhere.
“In our development of younger men we are trying to tell them that when you’re tired nobody’s actually stabbing you, you don’t have to fall in a heap and start going slower – you can actually keep on moving.
“I am lucky to be coaching JP (Peacock). He is one of the modern-day greats, he just continually bangs out top-end performances week-in, week-out.
“Not once a month, every single week. Jamie Jones is of that ilk, where when he’s tired he can get just energy from somewhere and go and save you a try and make you a tackle or have a carry that gets a set going your way.”
The win at AJ Bell Stadium was the latest close game involving Rhinos. There has been more than one score between the teams in just two of Leeds’ last seven First Utility Super League matches.
McDermott said that is not good for his blood pressure, but will be ideal practice for the play-offs and is great for the competition.
“It has been a while since we either beat a team comfortably or got beaten comfortably,” he pointed out.
“Every game we either win or lose is really tight and intense.
“I think during those moments frustration and a bit of anxiety overload happens, but I am hopeful it is putting us in good stead for the end of the year.”
Of Friday’s clash, he added: “Every time we stopped running at 100 per cent, Salford broke us down. I am not trying to say we were poor, therefore Salford looked good.
“That’s not what I mean, but games are won and lost by teams that ease off the gas for a period of time. That’s how it is.
“Every time we handed the ball to Salford, whether that be through an error or even a kick, they ran straight through us.
“There were some defensive lapses from us, but they are a good team, Salford and the place was bouncing.
“It is great for the game. You could put some good money on that you’d beat Salford for the last 10-15 years – and that’s not being disrespectful.
“But you can’t at the moment. They have been building gradually and again we faced a team that had the wind in their sails.
“We seem to be doing that against teams. That’s why they are real contests. Salford may go on and lose a couple more games before the end of this year, but at the moment they are a confident team, playing on top of their game.”