COACH OF the year Brian McDermott saw Leeds Rhinos get off the mark – then described himself as disappointed.
Last night’s 20-16 victory over Huddersfield Giants ended a run of three successive First Utility Super League defeats – four in all competitions – and lifted Rhinos off the foot of the table.
The defending champions trailed twice and both teams scored three tries, but teenager Jordan Lilley landed four kicks from as many attempts for Leeds, with Giants’ Jamie Foster missing one out of three.
It was a scrappy game, played in difficult conditions and asked for his reaction, McDermott said: “Disappointing I thought, that performance wasn’t good. I didn’t think the half-backs did anything special. Ultimately Jordan Lilley’s kicking and Liam Sutcliffe’s try probably got us the game, but it shouldn’t have been that hard.”
He added: “It was two teams very committed and almost trying too hard at times.
“I think it’s too early in the year for me to be saying a win’s a win and it’s two points in the bag. We need to string some passages of play together and some things together that we are working on in training, but that’s not happening on game day.”
Rhinos were without nine players through injury or suspension. Centre Joel Moon did not feature in the second half after damaging a hamstring and Ash Handley took a bang to a kneecap.
Both players are in doubt for next Friday’s trip to Wigan Warriors, though McDermott said he has his fingers crossed. Giants – who were third last season – are now without a win after four rounds and have dropped into bottom spot.
Huddersfield led 12-6 at the break and coach Paul Anderson claimed: “We gifted it away. We completed at 50 per cent in the second half and 80 per cent in the first half. Being on the back of an 8-1 penalty count against us in the second half was embarrassing, not from our point of view, but the officials’.”