Leeds Rhinos: Burrow’s ‘great’ game forces Mac to keep back-up ‘nine’ on bench

Brian McDermott.
Brian McDermott.
Have your say

COACH BRIAN McDermott has explained his decision to leave hooker Beau Falloon on the bench throughout the 20-18 win over Hull.

Falloon was Leeds’ third unused substitute in their 12 competitive games this year, after Jordan Baldwinson against Huddersfield Giants and Jordan Lilley at Castleford.

McDermott confirmed Falloon was fit and available to go on, but said with Rob Burrow having an outstanding game as the starting No 9, he opted not to make a change.

“I thought Rob was great there, especially in the first half,” McDermott said of the seven-time Grand Final winner, who captained the side with Danny McGuire out due to injury.

But the coach was cautious not to heap too much praise on 19-year-old half-back Jordan Lilley, who scored his first Super League try and booted four goals from as many attempts.

McDermott did not feel it was the Stanningley product’s best game for Rhinos, and he said: “I thought he was too much out of the game in the second half.

“We had got some middle men who were running on fumes in the second half.

“He has got to stop waiting for the big play, he needs to get the ball in his hands and run and go at the other team.

“He was obviously very influential, but I don’t think it was the best game he has played for us.”

McDermott praised veteran Jamie Jones-Buchanan, who scored Rhinos’ crucial third try, and said he was happier with the pack effort.

Rhinos came through the match with no obvious injuries, but eight players were unavailable and McDermott admitted the club’s injury crisis is making it tough to prepare for games.

“Even though people are taking to the field on game day we still don’t have that many people training,” he said.

“We are still coaching by whiteboards and video at the moment, rather than muscle memory in training as much.”

Anthony Mullally

Leeds Rhinos: Coach McDermott hails tackling in a steely victory over leaders Saints