Leeds Rhinos coach Brian McDermott believed his side produced a “strong” performance in vain on the opening night of the Super League season as they lost a keenly-contested clash against St Helens.
Leeds were defensively impressive for large spells of the opening 80 minutes of the new campaign but with ball in hand, were left to rue a number of missed opportunities as they slipped to defeat at the Totally Wicked Stadium.
McDermott admitted there were positives – rating his side’s attack as seven out of ten – and insisted there was a platform from which to build.
“I thought it was a strong performance for the first game of the year,” he said. “You’ve got a few objectives and staying in the game and defensive performances are two of them.
“I think our offence was at a seven out of ten but coming here to St Helens, you can’t have a seven out of ten, you’ve got to be eight or nine.”
McDermott also praised young fullback Ashton Golding on his first competitive start as the Rhinos’ No.1.
Golding was involved in a number of key try-saving moments and McDermott admitted he was delighted with his performance. “We’ll win some games and we’ll win some big games this year, and he’ll have a say in what we do offensively.
“However, he was outstanding tonight and he had some big moments in there, catching some high kicks and some of those try-savers are everything you want from a fullback.”
Captain Danny McGuire missed out due to injury, and McDermott admitted he has a chance of returning for next week’s game against Leigh.
“Danny was very close to playing and he may have made a difference, but I thought Liam Sutcliffe and Rob Burrow were very good. He’s got a chance for next week.”