McDermott grateful for narrow victory
Leeds coach Brian McDermott was a relieved man after watching his side edge out Wakefield 44-40 in a 14-try feast at Headingley.
Winger Ben Jones-Bishop scored three of the Rhinos' seven tries, with Zak Hardaker, Jamie Jones-Buchanan, Weller Hauraki and Carl Ablett also crossing, and skipper Kevin Sinfield kicked eight goals from as many attempts as they secured a crucial victory to lift themselves back into the top eight of Stobart Super League.
McDermott conceded the champions are still well below their best after they conceded tries to Ben Cockayne, Tim Smith, Dean Collis, Ali Lauitiiti, Kyle Trout, Oliver Wilkes and Peter Fox, but was pleased they beat a Wakefield side who had won their last three games. He said: "They are a team who have got momentum and they clearly came here to play."
The Rhinos had 10 players backing up for England duty 48 hours earlier, and McDermott added: "I thought we looked nervous and edgy. We were anxious in the early stages and conceded some soft tries. We had one structured attacking set in the whole of the first half which is unusual.
"We had to get ourselves off the canvas and we did that. It was always going to be a tough game, given that we had 10 players backing up. It doesn't fix everything but it was a very encouraging win."
Leeds raced into a 12-0 lead inside 10 minutes but both tries, from Jones-Bishop and full-back Zak Hardaker, were long-range efforts against the run of play, and Wakefield coach Richard Agar was delighted with the brand of football produced by his side.
"To score 40 points at Headingley and not get the win is a tough one for us to take," he said. "We played some very positive stuff with the ball. We were very much the bearer of gifts and those gifts converted into 18 points. They didn't have to work at all for those 18 points.
"We made some uncharacteristic errors but I thought our offence was outstanding."
With both sides scoring seven tries, the difference in the end was a penalty kicked by Sinfield on 65 minutes which put the home side two scores in front. The penalty was awarded for dissent after the Wildcats complained about a decision to award a scrum feed to the Rhinos, which Agar picked out as the turning point in the match.
"It was a dead-set joke," he said. "It was a terrible decision by the touchjudge."