BOSS BRIAN McDermott admitted he was in “a bit of a negative mood” after seeing Leeds Rhinos make it three wins from three last night.
Paul Aiton’s first try for the club secured a dramatic 28-24 win over Rhinos’ bogey club Huddersfield Giants, but McDermott wasn’t happy with either the way the game was refereed or his team’s performance.
Leeds led 18-0 after 25 minutes, but Giants rallied to go 24-22 in front with 11 left, before Aiton’s touchdown condemned the visitors to a third straight defeat five minutes later.
McDermott said: “I have got to get the balance right, because I don’t want to be anyway disrespectful to Huddersfield. They were staring down the barrel of three straight losses and any team therefore is going to be determined.
“But I thought in the second half especially Huddersfield were allowed to do certain things in the ruck which made that game an unbelievable scrappy game to watch, from a coaching point of view.
“It was frustrating to watch. I am by no means having a crack at the individual referee, but the point I am making is that if the referees don’t hold the ruck accountable for that type of defence, it just manifests itself into a scrappy game.
“It was a poor standard game to watch in the second half.”
McDermott added: “Everybody has a method, a system, of slowing the ruck.
“To a degree, part of those are allowed. I don’t think there was too much method in it, I think it was just lying on, late flops and unrealistic-timed rucks, where it became slow.
“I’m not having a crack at Huddersfield. They’re staring down the barrel of three and one of the ways of defending against us is by slowing the ruck right down. They need to be held accountable for that. That’s not to say we should have a free run and the refereeing of the game should suit Leeds.
“It has to go both ways, because we’d start to do that as well.”
McDermott gave credit to Giants for hitting back from 18-0 down.
He said Leeds’ performance was “not great” and he went on: “I’m happy we’ve won, but moments like this qualify what coaches talk about when they talk about performance.
“There’s not much in that game I want to take over into next week.”
“Again without being disrespectful to Huddersfield, I thought we should have had more of a hold on the game than we did, but you can’t dismiss Huddersfield’s resilience.”