Matt Peet said Leeds Rhinos deserve “an enormous amount of credit” after beating his Wigan Warriors side in the Super League play-off semi-finals.
Wigan completed the whole league season unbeaten at home but were stunned at the DW Stadium by Leeds, who came from behind to win 20-8.
Liam Marshall opened the scored for the Warriors but they could not convert heavy first-half pressure into any further points, and were punished in the second half to make Sam Powell’s late try a mere consolation.
Peet said: “I’m sad for the group, I’d love to have had another week with the group preparing for another game. But I remain really proud of the group.
“I love the players and staff to bits. It’s been a special year. I’m really appreciative of everyone’s commitment and the buy-in we’ve had.
“I think Leeds deserve an enormous amount of credit for the way they played.
“The way they defended their goalline in particular, they showed great resilience. That’s a great sign of commitment to one another. They can really proud.”
Going into the break only 4-2 up, Wigan were rocked at the beginning of the second half by quick-fire tries before John Bateman’s dismissal, for a high tackle on Aidan Sezer, effectively ended their hopes.
“There was a period at the start of the second half where they were better than us, then the sending off probably left the game beyond us,” said Peet.
“I’ve no complaints (with the red card), we understand the rules. John had all the best intentions, he did a similar action in the first half and forced a charge down. It’s a split-second error. We hope Aidan is alright.”