Leeds Rhinos: McDermott savours winning feeling as Leeds grind out rare win

Mitch Garbutt
Mitch Garbutt
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Brian McDermott was pleased to have the winning feeling again after Leeds dug deep to end their seven-game losing run with an 8-0 victory over Salford in wet conditions.

Last year’s treble winners have done it tough in 2016 but they earned their first win in almost two months after shutting out the Red Devils in an error-strewn Super League match at Headingley.

Luke Briscoe’s sixth-minute unconverted try sent the Rhinos into half-time 4-0 up before two Liam Sutcliffe penalties secured only Leeds’ fourth win of the season.

The home side were forced to defend their own line for long periods but did so with an intensity that was missing in heavy defeats by Castleford, Wigan and Warrington.

After coming in for criticism in recent weeks, McDermott was happy to celebrate a welcome two points.

“Yes it is (nice to have that winning feeling again),” said Leeds head coach McDermott.

“It’s been a while since we last won. We’ve won because of hard work not because of a dubious refereeing decision or Salford being off.

“There’s a lot we can learn from that defensively and take into next week but I’m not sure there’s too much offensively.”

Leeds remain bottom and sit eight points adrift of eighth-placed Wakefield with only five games to play before the split and a vastly inferior points difference.

McDermott has not given up hope of avoiding the Qualifiers but conceded Leeds’ top-eight hopes were slim.

“Numerically we can (make it) but things need to go in our favour,” said McDermott, who revealed England winger Ryan Hall could make his comeback from injury next week.

“I don’t think we’ve got to change anything, we just need to keep being better and as good as we can be.

“I don’t think strategically there’s anything we need to do. If we can or can’t make the top eight, our aim is to be as good as we can be.

“Our aim is to get into those games that will decide the top eight in a lot healthier state than we were three or four weeks ago.”

A crowd of 14,462 battled the elements to watch the game and the majority of those supporters went home happy.

McDermott added: “The fans have been great and this win just allows them to sing a few winning songs which we as a team haven’t been able to provide the fans with just recently, so it’s good for them.”

The victory looked in doubt for much of the game as Salford threw everything at Leeds but ultimately the Red Devils came up short as their top-eight chances also continue to fade.

“We turned over too much ball,” said Salford head coach Ian Watson.

“They managed the conditions better than we did and deserved the win.

“We just didn’t take our opportunities. There was loads of effort and guile from the boys but we just didn’t take the opportunities when they presented themselves to us.

“You lose close games when you don’t take those opportunities.”