Coach Brian McDermott hailed a positive response from his Leeds Rhinos side after seeing them run in eight tries to hammer City Reds 46-12 at Headingley Carnegie.
McDermott fielded 15 of his Wembley line-up, just six days after their draining 35-18 loss to Warrington Wolves in the Carnegie Challenge Cup final.
Last night’s win keeps alive Rhinos’ hopes of finishing fourth in Stobart Super League and McDermott had nothing but praise for his weary troops.
“They have been good and they’ve been strong through the week and I thought tonight they were very, very strong,” said the admiring boss.
“Physically and emotionally a Cup final takes a lot out of you.
“To play strong and perform strong, regardless of scoreline, is a good sign. To score 46 points and only concede a couple of scratchy tries, one of them right at the end, is pretty good.”
McDermott saluted an “immense” performance from veteran prop Jamie Peacock and described substitute front-rower Ian Kirke’s effort as “very strong”,
He added: “I thought we were pretty clinical and pretty good.
“We made a couple of errors in good ball, but we had a lot of chances in good ball, attacking their tryline.
“We could have been a bit further in front at half-time, but I was actually pleased it was only 16-0 because it made us go out there and absolutely nail the game.
“To push on and get the game as we did in the second half I thought was very encouraging.”
Rhinos were without Ryan Bailey, who played in the under-20s curtain-raiser.
There were rumours before the game that was due to disciplinary reasons, but McDermott stressed: “I don’t know where those rumours have come from, there is no foundation in them.”