DEFENCE SECURED the points for Leeds Rhinos in a tense 22-18 home win over Hull KR, according to boss Brian McDermott.
Leeds have won both their opening two fixtures in the First Utility Qualifiers and last night’s victory over Super League rivals was a major boost to their hopes of a a return to the top-flight in 2017.
Leeds were never behind, but Rovers rallied three times after the hosts had taken an eight-point lead and both sides finished with three tries.
Despite Segeyaro’s contribution, McDermott put the win down to the way his team protected their line.
“I thought defence was a significant part of it,” McDermott said.
“James Segeyaro’s two tries numerically got us the win, but I also thought Liam Sutcliffe’s try-saver in the first half was one of those moments where you look at why we won.”
McDermott admitted his team weren’t at their best with ball in hand.
“I think both coaches would say it was an off-night for offense,” he added.
“I don’t think it was the most exciting game I’ve ever seen and it certainly wasn’t the most skilful one either, from either team.”
The boss felt Rhinos had enough opportunities to finish Rovers off, but conceded: “We invited that to be a contest and I didn’t think it should have been. “But to be fair Hull KR are fighting for the same goal we are and they had a lot of fight about them.
“From the off I knew, from the first couple of exchanges we had with them, they were going to be good, or resilient at the very least. They were as honest in their defence as we were in ours. I want to pay respect to Hull KR, but at the same time I want to hold us accountable. “We are in these eights and we’ve got to deal with an anxiety that comes with it.”
Half-back Rob Burrow was taken off in the second half. McDermott revealed he was carrying a calf strain from last Saturday’s win at Featherstone Rovers, but said: “Let’s hope it’s just precautionary.
“There’s nothing pinged or twanged or torn in there.”