DISAPPOINTED COACH Brian McDermott admitted last night’s game at Huddersfield Giants was a “tough one to lose.”
Rhinos led three times and were in front with seven minutes left, but went down 28-20 and slipped a place to 11th in the table.
They will be bottom if Salford beat Hull KR today, but McDermott saw some positives in his team’s 10th defeat from 13 First Utility Super League games.
“Compared to last week, I didn’t think we were as good this week,” McDermott said.
“I thought we were too poor with the ball in the first 20 minutes before we started to get a bit of rhythm and conviction about our offense..
“But once again there were lots of really good moments in the game and lots of encouraging signs.
“There were some good moments near our tryline and some absolute try savers – we will probably break a record for the number of try-savers.”
McDermott was pleased with youngsters Jordan Lilley, Ash Handley and Ashton Golding, as well as teenager Cameron Smith, who made his debut just months after moving up from the under-16s.
“I think it’s valuable experience we are going through,” he added.
“People who wanted us to win will be disappointed and we are, I am.
“But some of the experiences these young fellas are going through are things they have never gone through before.
“Ash Golding has never had to catch that quality of kick before and he will be better for it. Jimmy Keinhorst, Josh Walters, Ash Handley, they are playing in an environment which is hot.
“The pressure is huge, they have not done that before. These experience are great for them, at the expense of a loss.”
The coach also hailed “brilliant” performances from Jamie Jones-Buchanan and Rob Burrow and said Keith Galloway and Mitch Garbutt were stand-outs.
Leeds were without 10 members of their senior squad last night.
McDermott said Cuthbertson and McGuire could “possibly” return in next Friday’s Ladbrokes Challenge Cup rematch, also at John Smith’s Stadium, but revealed Mitch Achurch played last night without having been able to train during the week.