RELIEVED BOSS Brian McDermott saluted a “significant” win for Leeds Rhinos after they battled back to pip hosts Wakefield Trinity.
Rhinos rallied from 12-6 down at the break and 20-12 adrift midway through the second half to scrape home 28-26.
McDermott described his side’s third Betfred Super League game in 10 days as “hard fought” and reckons the victory could prove crucial later in the campaign.
“There were so many ebbs and flows, I should imagine it was a good game to watch,” McDermott said.
“I thought it was a really significant win, to build a team’s personality and character and identity.
“This squad is evolving and trying to create its own identity and wins like this, I think they are big for it.”
Captain Kallum Watkins bagged a brace of tries and booted four goals from five attempts.
“That was a big knock from him,” McDermott said.
“A couple of those conversions were difficult and he is in good form.
“He is relishing the role of captain, his head’s in a good place. It is good to see and he has clearly got a grip of the group.
“They listen to him. To captain this group you’ve got to have a certain personality and a bit of presence about you.
“You can’t just say the right things, it’s how you say it and how you command the group and Kallum is doing a great job in that regard.”
McDermott also saluted a “great” effort from veteran forward Jamie Jones-Buchanan, who played the full 80 minutes and also complimented Trinity on their performance.
He said: “Wakefield played with a lot of energy. It must have been a heartbreaking loss for them, I thought they played really well. They are a good team.”
Wakefield coach Chris Chester was “frustrated” after his team’s latest defeat.
“We were our own worst enemies,” he said.
“That’s five losses on the bounce now. It’s not a good place to be in, but there’s lots of things we can be positive about.
“What disappoints us most as staff is we spoke all week about Leeds and what their threats are and we had to make sure we made our one-on-one tackles.
“We didn’t do that, we were soft defensively and that’s disappointing.
“The effort was great, but we weren’t smart enough.”
Chester felt Trinity;s game management was poor when they were eight points ahead.
“We’ve nobody to blame but ourselves,” he added.
“We keep leading at half-time and then throwing away a lead – it is frustrating.”
l Wakefield’s physical disabilities RL team defeated their Leeds Rhinos counterparts 44-10 in their first fixture, played at Belle Vue after the Super League derby.
l Rhinos under-19s won 66-6 at Newcastle Thunder yesterday. Try scorers were Kiedan Hartley (2), Liam Hamill, Harry Georgiou, Jordan Russell, Louie McConnell, Tyler Dupree, Brad Martin, Thomas Holroyd, Owen Trout, James Barraclough, Spencer Darley and Alfie Goddard, who added seven goals.