Brian McDermott might have seen his side take a huge step towards the Super League Leader’s Shield, but the Leeds Rhinos head coach insists his troops still have plenty more to give.
Leeds looked to have wrapped up their clash against Wigan Warriors early as they led 20-4 at halftime thanks to Danny Maguire’s early try and further first-half scores from Joel Moon and Ryan Hall.
On the hour, Wigan clawed their way back through Liam Farrell’s second try of the game, but Kallum Watkins went up the other end to grab a fourth home try.
Wigan had the last laugh through John Bateman but it couldn’t prevent Leeds from moving four points clear at the top after the 25-18 win – with McDermott adamant improvements can still be made.
“We certainly had to show some grit and I thought we were tough when we needed to be, both with the ball and without,” the Leeds coach said.
“I am really pleased but at the same time at the back end of the game I thought we were disappointing in areas.
“We showed Wigan a lack of respect really and were giving away turnovers and trying things in that last 20 minutes that we weren’t doing in the first 60.
“So we were not perfect. It is a stride towards finishing top but it was far from perfect so there are improvements to be made.
Elsewhere, Hull coach Lee Radford praised his team as they came from behind to down St Helens.
The Black and Whites scored five second-half tries to come from 18-6 down at Langtree Park, with Curtis Naughton scoring a hat-trick of tries – made all the more impressive considering they were missing seven first-team players.
“I’m really pleased with the effort and two weeks on the trot we’ve racked up 30 points away from home,” Radford said.
“We said we wanted to go to the end of the year swinging and that’s been the case so far.”
Warrington Wolves coach Tony Smith admitted his side’s narrow defeat to Castleford Tigers was hard to swallow, even if it does little to change the former St George Dragons star’s outlook.
After seeing his team fight back to draw level with hosts Castleford with just three minutes remaining, Liam Finn drove a dagger into Wolves’ hearts with a last-gasp drop goal to secure a 17-16 win.
The result seriously dents Warrington’s hopes of a top-four finish, but Smith insists his troops will fight until the bitter end.
“A draw would probably have been a fair reflection, but enthusiasm is a huge thing and they out-enthused us,” Smith said.