Rhinos coach wants momentum
Leeds coach Brian McDermott believes his side atoned for their "embarrassment" in Perpignan as they beat Catalan Dragons 34-18 on Friday.
The Rhinos' fortunes hit rock bottom in their last meeting with the Dragons last July, when they were beaten 38-18 in the south of France, and McDermott admitted it had played a part in their preparation for the Super League fixture at Headingley.
"It was mentioned," he said. "We were embarrassed last year and wanted to turn that around.
"We wanted to be able to hold our heads high against the Catalan fellas.
"It was an important fixture. They're absolutely a good team and they ask so many questions of you.
"We were very aware that, had we not performed and ultimately got the result, it would have dented our confidence.
"We are trying to gain some momentum and hopefully that will be one of many performances for a while."
Hooker Shaun Lunt was among the try-scorers on his Leeds debut while in-form centre Zak Hardaker took his try tally to 12 in his last eight matches and winger Ben Jones-Bishop touched down twice as the champions dominated the visitors.
Lunt, signed on loan from Huddersfield, played the full 80 minutes to justify his inclusion.
"I don't think we asked him to do too much that he's not done for Nathan Brown at Huddersfield," McDermott said.
"He showed up well. He ran well out of dummy half and scored a try but let's go careful. It's only one game so let's not make him into the king of everything."
Also among the try-scorers was prop Ryan Bailey, who was pressed into service in the back row and also produced a fine kick to reveal a side to his game rarely seen.
"I like Ryan Bailey," McDermott added. "He winds a lot of players up but he's not a dirty player. He's emotional and aggressive but I'm glad he's in my team.
"There are far more dirtier players in our game that are at risk of popping shoulders or bending knees. Ryan doesn't do that."
The Catalans missed the chance to draw level with leaders Huddersfield after a below-par performance.
Coach Trent Robinson paid tribute to Leeds but expressed his disappointment at the performance of referee Ben Thaler.
"I need to have another look at it but I was frustrated," he said. "We didn't get much tonight.
"I thought Leeds were really dominant in the ruck but they pushed things too far a few times with no result from Ben."
Thaler's performance drew some stinging criticism on Twitter from Catalan players, with injured full-back Clint Greenshields, watching the match on television, posting: "Holy s*** thaler is retarded. F*** me!"
Robinson was caught unaware by the comments, but responded: "I don't think Ben is retarded."
He continued: "I haven't seen any of that stuff. There's always a danger with those sort of comments. It's tough watching - you get emotional."
A first-half try from Louis Anderson gave the Dragons hope of pulling off a first-ever win at Headingley but they trailed 22-6 before veteran Steve Menzies got over the line for their second and Leon Pryce's late effort was mere consolation.
"I thought Leeds were dominant and they deserved to win," Robinson added.
"We let ourselves down in a few areas that we've prided ourselves on since the start of the season. We were comfortably beaten by a better team."
The Catalans stayed in England following their Challenge Cup win at Hull KR on Sunday but they have now lost on all eight visits to Headingley.
"We'll keep having a crack and hopefully we'll get closer next time," Robinson said.
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