LEEDS RHINOS coach Brian McDermott described last night’s derby win at Castleford Tigers as his team’s hardest challenge of the season so far.
Leeds trailed 14-12 at half time – after being 8-0 down early on – but dominated the second period as tired Tigers ran out of steam.
“That would be the biggest test we’ve had so far this year,” McDermott said afterwards.
“Wigan last week was a physical test and an intense game and Saints in the Cup, what that meant to us emotionally took its toll.
“But in terms of being pushed tactically and technically, they are a good team Cas, they have just confirmed that to everybody.
“We had respect for them beforehand and we have a huge amount of respect for them afterwards as well.”
Rhinos’ right-side pairing of Ben Jones-Bishop and Kallum Watkins shared the visitors’ four tries.
McDermott said: “Press rewind and play in terms of what our outside-backs do for us.
“What we had to do tonight was earn the field position to be able to do that. I was really pleased with the forwards and Jamie Peacock was absolutely immense.
“I take it for granted, but on nights like tonight he is worth his weight in gold. He turns it out every single week and I thought he was man of the match by far.”
Cas coach Daryl Powell thought too many errors cost his side any chance of victory.
“That put us under a fair bit of pressure,” he said. “Leeds completed pretty high percentage-wise and their kicking game was excellent.
“They were putting the ball over our line from 50 or 60 out.
“They played a pretty smart game and we made too many errors – we only had a short turnaround so on the back of that and the errors we made that is going to hurt you against a team of Leeds’ quality. We dug in and worked hard defensively, we had to do to keep them out. I am proud of that, but disappointed with the way we played in the second half.”