BOSS BRIAN McDermott said he was “not disappointed” after Leeds Rhinos’ pre-season campaign began with a 30-6 home drubbing by Wakefield Trinity.
McDermott felt it was too early to be concerned by the heavy defeat, just as he has not got carried away when his team have won on Boxing Day.
Leeds conceded six tries to one as Wakefield retained the Wetherby Whaler Festive Challenge trophy.
It was a poor end to a year when Rhinos battled against relegation before finishing ninth in Super League and retaining their top-flight status by leading the Qualifiers table.
But McDermott insisted: “I am not disappointed.
“We are in the middle of pre-season. I think for the amount of times we have won those games and I’ve said we can’t read anything into it because we’re in the middle of pre-season, so when you lose a game you are going to have to take the same line.
“I think it’s easy for me to take that line because it’s true, we’re in the middle of pre-season.
“I am not going to say that was great either.
“There’s some parts there where we weren’t good, but it is almost like a public training run so there’s some things for us to work on and there’s some things for us [from which] we get a good gauge of where we’re at.
“Now if you throw into the mix that there were some young people there, some people who played with us there who’ve never played with us before, there’s enough there where you think yes we’ve got some work to do, but then at the same time we’re not going to get carried away with it.”
Wakefield had a more experienced line-up and McDermott admitted that was “one of” the differences, but he stressed: “I would still be disappointed with some of the passages of play we had, but again not to the degree where I’m going to go home scratching my head or that we need to do anything different.”
McDermott reckoned the fact Leeds got over Wakefield’s line six times without scoring reflected both the effort his team put in and their lack of creativity.
Rhinos fielded new signings scrum-half Cory Aston and forward Jack Ormondroyd, who came off the bench to score their only try.
McDermott said the pair went “okay”. He added: “I think both of them would be glad to put a shirt on and run about with us. I think Jack Ormondroyd has got more of a robust game where Cory Ashton has more of an influential game.
“Again there will be some stuff there that I liked what Cory did, but some stuff for him to get right as well.”
Rhinos’ England players Ryan Hall and Kallum Watkins watched yesterday’s game from the main stand, along with Brett Ferres, Stevie Ward, Danny McGuire, Joel Moon, Jamie Jones-Buchanan and Rob Burrow.
They could all feature, along with new Aussie hooker Matt Parcell, when Hull KR visit Headingley for Ryan Hall’s testimonial game on Friday, January 20.
Leeds are expected to field an inexperienced line-up in their next pre-season match, the Harry Jepson OBE Memorial Cup tie at Hunslet on Sunday, January 15.