LEEDS RHINOS maintained their Super League stranglehold over Salford Red Devils, but boss Brian McDermott felt they “got away with a few things” in a 28-18 victory.
It was Leeds’ 20th successive win away to Salford and their 12 straight victory over the Manchester outfit, who have beaten Rhinos just once in 35 Super League meetings.
But McDermott was happier with the result than the performance and he admitted: “I thought we probably got a way with a few things.
“We got away with a bit of a ropey performance.
“It was crazy conditions. The players came in at half-time and said it was a ridiculous wind. We had something similar at Catalans a couple of weeks ago, when the wind had such a bearing on the game.
“You could see from kick-offs that the ball wasn’t going much further than 10-15 yards for either team. I suppose that had a bearing on how fluent the game looked.”
It was Leeds’ third game in 10 days and McDermott added: “We knew we would go in there a bit down on energy.
“I didn’t think it was a terrible performance, but especially in the second half I thought we played a bit too carefree.
“Salford are missing some troops and some very important people in their team and that probably saved us a little bit, but they didn’t give up.
“They kept challenging us. We needed to be a bit further in front. If we’re going to play like we did in the second half we needed to be three tries in front, not just 10 points.”
Prop Jamie Peacock scored Leeds’ first two tries and McDermott revealed afterwards: “He has got a bad back and probably shouldn’t have played.
“It’s a funny one, because while he will get a lot of plaudits for doing 70 minutes, had we taken him off after 25-30 he would probably have seized up and not gone back on, so we had to keep him out there.
“Stevie Ward again was massive for us and so was Ash Handley. He is getting challenged by a few teams because he is young and a few of the teams are testing him out with kicks, but he has answered every single one of them and thrown a bit back as well.”
Yesterday’s victory kept Rhinos four points clear at the top of the table and completed a 100 per cent winning record over the Easter period.
“It’s not easily done,” McDermott said. “We have got a huge, huge challenge against St Helens on Friday.
“We will take each game as it comes now. I don’t think St Helens will be quaking in their boots looking at how we played [yesterday], but some of that resilience, you can’t take that into next week, but if you’ve got it in you, it’s good.”