AUSTRALIAN FORWARD Trent Merrin felt Leeds Rhinos were the cause of their own downfall in the 26-24 defeat at Wakefield Trinity.
Merrin played in the game two days ago, only 48 hours after returning from compassionate leave in Australia.
The result left Leeds – who had beaten Huddersfield Giants 38-18 on Good Friday – second from bottom in Betfred Super League, above London Broncos on points difference.
Against a patched-up Trinity team, missing 12 senior players, Rhinos hit back from 12-0 down to go in all square at the break, but did not make the most of long spells of pressure and conceded 14 unanswered points in the third quarter, which proved decisive.
“It was very disappointing, definitely not up to our expectations,” Merrin said of Leeds’ ninth loss of the league campaign.
“Again, we did it to ourselves.
“We had plenty of opportunities to execute and we just let them back into it.
“They took every opportunity they had so we can learn from them and we’ve just got to work harder.”
Trinity did not have a play-the-ball in Leeds’ 20 until the 66th minute, but scored four long-range tries.
“That’s our priority at the moment, our defence,” Merrin added. “We are patchy in games and when we are giving them too much ball we are doing too much D which doesn’t help our gas.
“We have got to concentrate on that and work harder, that’s all it comes down to.”
At half-time it seemed Trinity may have used up too much energy, but Leeds could not capitalise.
“I felt very confident,” Merrin said.
“We were playing some good footy in patches, it was definitely an arm wrestle and it came down to the team that wanted it more.
“They definitely showed that so it is something we can learn from. You learn a lot from these games and that’s what we have got to do.”
Rhinos have another short turnaround to a crucial game on Sunday at home to Hull KR.
Merrin insisted: “We can’t put our heads down and bash ourselves up about it.
“We have just got to shake it off now, get our injuries right, regroup and put in a big effort this weekend.
“That’s the way it is, it’s what we get paid for so we have got to look after ourselves and get ready.”
Merrin was recalled straight into the starting side after missing three games following a family bereavement, arriving back in Leeds on Saturday.
Of his performance, he said: “I was a bit lethargic in patches.
“It is a bit hard to shake it straight away, but I will be better from it, getting out there and getting amongst it. It was good just to be out there again.”
Merrin maintained his fitness while in Australia and stressed: “We are professionals, we get paid to do what we do and you’ve always got to stay in control of yourself. I did what I had to back home to get myself ready to come back in.”