Leeds Rhinos: Dramatic draw feels like a defeat, admits McDermott

Brian McDermott on the sidelines at Huddersfield.  Picture Tony Johnson.
Brian McDermott on the sidelines at Huddersfield. Picture Tony Johnson.
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LEEDS RHINOS hit back twice, but boss Brian McDermott admitted their 22-22 draw at Huddersfield Giants “felt like a loss”.

Rhinos trailed 12-0 inside the first quarter and were six points behind with only three minutes left before Ash Handley’s second try of the game – and Kallum Watkins’ third goal – got them out of jail.

Ash Handley hands off Huddersfield's Jordan Rankin. Picture Tony Johnson.

Ash Handley hands off Huddersfield's Jordan Rankin. Picture Tony Johnson.

Injury-hit Giants went into the game second from bottom in the table, having lost five of their previous seven matches and without a permanent coach following Rich Stone’s sacking three days earlier.

“I don’t think we were enterprising enough,” McDermott admitted.

“It is not all doom and gloom in the dressing room, but nobody’s cheering. It is a draw, which feels like a loss.”

Reflecting on Rhinos’ performance overall, McDermott observed: “There was some good stuff, but I think we had too many dead moments with the ball.

“Huddersfield had a reason to be good and the question is why weren’t they that good- that enthusiastic – in previous weeks? I think they have got some questions to answer themselves about that, but every time Kallum [Watkins] caught the ball they had eight blokes around him and every time Hally [Ryan Hall] and Tom [Briscoe] tried to get out of dummy-half they were really switched on.

“Well done to them for that. We were 12-0 down and all of a sudden it became a contest and I don’t think we reacted well to some adversity to start with.

“It took us a while to at least attempt to get a grip of the game. That said, we did fight back, but Huddersfield stayed determined all the way through and never dropped off.”

McDermott said he was encouraged by the way Rhinos rallied from, 12 and six points behind. “When Ash Handley scored that try to get us level, that took some doing,” he said.

“It’s not to be sniffed at, against a team that’s got momentum and is fighting for pride and all that type of thing.

“There were some decent fightbacks there for sure.”

The coach confirmed long-term casualties Jimmy Keinhorst and Liam Sutcliffe will be available for Monday’s visit of Salford Red Devils.

Anthony Mullally will miss out after suffering concussion against Huddersfield and Jack Walker left the ground with a foot in a protective boot.

With snow forecast for Monday morning, Rhinos’ ground staff have been making preparations to protect the pitch and surrounding areas.

Meanwhile, Toronto Wolfpack are expected to confirm the signing of Manly Sea Eagles prop Darcy Lussick.

The Australian had been linked with a move to Leeds, but Rhinos chief executive Gary Hetherington said there was no space on the club’s overseas quota, which already includes Brad Delaney, Matt Parcell, Joel Moon, Adam Cuthbertson and Mitch Garbutt.

Pictures: Leeds Rhinos take on tarantula, bearded dragon and python ahead of Easter Monday clash

Leeds Rhinos' Ash Handley celebrates his late try against Huddersfield Giants.  Picture Tony Johnson.

Huddersfield Giants 22 Leeds Rhinos 22: Champions hit back to grab a point