THERE WAS no shouting for joy in Leeds Rhinos’ changing rooms after yesterday’s crucial 24-22 win over London Broncos.
Rhinos’ first Magic Weekend success since 2012 lifted them two points clear of London who remain rooted to the foot of Betfred Super League.
But it was a nerve-shreddingly tense 80 minutes with Leeds failing to drive home their advantage after leading 10-0 early on.
They seemed to have the points safe when they went 24-10 ahead with 12 minutes left, but conceded two converted tries and were hanging on when the final whistle sounded.
The win was Richard Agar’s first as interim coach, but he admitted Rhinos are still not firing on all cylinders.
“I know it was billed as a relegation battle, us or them, but there’s plenty of games to go,” Agar said.
“We are not thinking yee-ha, we have got the two points, we are all right now.
“I think our performance shows there’s no quick fix for us, we’ve still got to keep working hard.”
Leeds have no game this weekend and return to Super League action at Wakefield Trinity on Friday, June 7.
“We have got some troops coming back soon and they will definitely help us,” Agar added. “We had a very young team, 24 was pretty much the average age.
“I am happy we dug the win out, but it was still very reminiscent of a number of our performances this year.”
Agar felt there were positive signs against London, but also too many of the problems which have dogged the team all year.
He conceded: “We are where we are for a reason. There were parts of the game when we took some really positive steps forward.
“Our tryline D [defence] was good in the first half, there was just one blip and some of the decent stuff we played, when we looked quite threatening through the middle of the field, I thought was really good.
“But the difference between our good and our bad is just so big and our ability to capitulate late in halves is obviously a major concern for us. We looked so dominant in the first half and then we had three poor sets on the trot, compounded by some penalties and then you have to defend 10 good ball sets.
“It is going to have an impact on your energy. We managed it in the first half, but I think there is an issue with how we are thinking under pressure.
“It’s where this team’s at at the moment, there is a lot of anxiety around us when we get under pressure.”
Agar was upset with the nine-three penalty count against his team, but praised their improved game-management and was pleased with 20-year-old Alex Sutcliffe’s contribution off the bench.
Rhinos’ win came at a cost with forward Nathaniel Peteru suffering a fractured eye socket. James Donaldson played on despite a back problem and Jack Walker, who returned following a hamstring injury, was replaced in the closing stages as a precautionary move.
London Broncos coach Danny Ward – a former Leeds Rhinos player – admitted Rhinos were the better side.
And he had no complaints over their crucial final try despite suggestions Alex Sutcliffe’s pass to Richie Myler was forward.