NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS coach Paul Green admitted their World Club Challenge success was a “proud moment” for the club.
The NRL champions established themselves as the world’s best club after producing a second half masterclass to beat Leeds 38-4, winning the second half 34-0.
And Green admitted he was delighted with how his side played during that second period.
“It’s a great feeling to win it. In terms of the club and it’s history it’s a proud moment after winning our first NRL Premiership last year,” said Green.
“I said before the game that a lot was spoken about the players that were out for Leeds, but I knew they’d turn up and start physically.
“I was proud of how we hung in there and controlled the second half.
“It’s important we enjoy this moment, but we want to make sure we’re ready for the Sharks game in two weeks’ time.”
Rhinos coach Brian McDermott admitted that the physical edge of North Queensland took its toll on his young side – saying his side rued not getting into things after half-time.
“That was a big moment in the game to keep them down to the single try there in the first half,” he said.
“It took a bit of juice out of us though and with the amount it had taken out of us we needed a foothold in the second half, but we didn’t get it. I thought we were poor in the first ten minutes of the second half which allowed them to be as good as they were.
“I thought their physicality took its toll during the game, when the big fellas carried the ball up the field I didn’t think we matched them physically.
“We’ve been involved in some of those games in the past but we’ve been unpicked by a smart passage of play, but I don’t think that was the case – we physically started to drop off. They came up with a couple of plays we couldn’t get to, and it was difficult when they got a roll on.
McDermott also refused to defend prop Mitch Garbutt after his red card for a punch on James Tamou.
“There’s some provocation but not enough to do that – it was silly from Mitch.
“It got passionate in the second half I think our players got frustrated. I’m sure Keith can handle being slapped.”