McDermott pleased with defensive resilience as Leeds return to winning ways

Leeds Rhinos coach Brian McDermott praised his side’s defensive toughness as they bounced back to winning ways with victory over Hull.

Two tries apiece from Kallum Watkins and Tom Briscoe ensured the Rhinos made it three wins from their opening four games, on a night when the club reopened its doors to Emerald Headingley for the first time since construction work on the stadium began.

And McDermott was pleased to see his side repel a late Hull onslaught as they continued their run of victories over Lee Radford’s side at home.

He said: “I thought we were good, and that was a good response from our game against Widnes. I wasn’t quite sure what we’d be like, because it’s a funny one to have so long off so early in the season – but I thought it was a good contest.

“Ultimately our defence got us it. I thought we were pretty strong there, though I didn’t think we were too far off in attack either. At this stage of the year you’ve got to be that strong though; defensively you’ve got to hit the ground running and I’m pretty proud of how many times we held them up and defended some pretty strong carries. We were good value for the win.”

McDermott was also particularly complimentary of half-back Richie Myler, who he believes is gradually starting to adjust to life as a Leeds player.

He said: “I think Richie Myler is having a good influence over us. Some of his early kicks were good and he’s starting to strike up some on-field relationships with some players now. He’s having a good influence, as I say – but Kallum and Tom, especially in defence, were great.”

And when asked if he was satisfied with his side’s start to the defence of their Super League title, McDermott quipped: “You’re asking a coach who’s never satisfied with where we are, but we’ve played five games, one of them was a World Club Challenge, and we’re in good shape at the moment and we’re looking forward to the next few weeks.”