Rohan Smith admitted the way Leeds Rhinos finished the game in their 42-12 defeat at St Helens overshadowed all the good work they did in the first-half to compete with the reigning Super League champions.
In what was for the most part a hard-fought game at the Totally Wicked Stadium, the Rhinos capitulated in the final quarter as they saw Zane Tetevano sent off while Bodene Thompson and James Bentley were sin-binned as they shipped over 40 points.
Speaking after the game, Smith said: “I liked the bulk of the game, but I didn’t like how it finished, but we attacked that game in the first-half.
“There were a few very big moments in the game where we lost our composure and didn’t execute and it may have had the game a bit closer.
Despite trailing by 10 points at half-time, Leeds were very much in the contest and fell on the wrong side of the some contentious calls that would have otherwise seen a much closer score at the interval.
“I thought we came to play and we had a good crack,” Smith added. “We showed good intent with our defence.
“We stretched them a few times in the piece, it was a good, hard game and I thought at half-time the score was reflective, but they played better for longer in the end.”
Contributing to the Rhinos second half collapse was a lack of discipline as referee Tom Grant distributed three cards to Smith’s men.
After acknowledging Thompson’s yellow card was probably the right decision, Smith remained coy on the other cards given to his players.
For Tetevano, a long ban awaits after a horrific high shot on former Rhinos man Konrad Hurrell.
Meanwhile, Bentley showed petulance in batting down the ball from Alex Walmsley following a penalty given against him, showing yet more ill-discipline having already missed 9 out of 16 games this season through suspension.
Smith said: “Tetevano looked spectacular, but I haven’t seen the point of contact on the replay. It’s the same with James, I didn’t see it. I was looking at our players and the next thing he’s in the bin.”