All the praise was directed at influential half Kevin Sinfield after he made a remarkable return from an ankle injury but the plaudits go to the entire side, as the Leeds Rhinos ran over the top of a deflated Catalan Dragons side, winning 40-12.
It was a tough, bruising first 30 minutes according to Leeds coach Brian McDermott but his side managed to grind it out and as a result, came away with a commanding win that saw them score 7 tries in the process.
Despite all that, McDermott knows that his side can improve after some scrappy play but for the most part, he was pleased with his side’s performance.
“We planned for that being a tough fixture, but we also appreciated that Catalan have got a lot of key members of their team missing from their team,” he said.
“We said that if we just live with them for the first 30 minutes then we should have some opportunities at the end of the first half. It pretty much went to script but, for that to happen, we had to be very, very tough.
“Credit should go to both teams in the first half. Catalan scored a great, early set-piece try and it was a massive contest for half an hour. I thought we looked for too much, especially in the second half, and we got a bit scrappy.”
It was Sinfield who received praise galore, though, and McDermott was quick to lay credit towards the veteran half.
“I thought Kevin Sinfield was going to have two weeks off after his ankle injury last week, but it’s remarkable what can happen with medicine and you have to give Kevin a lot of credit,” the coach said.
“He did everything he possibly could to make sure he would be ready for this game and, to top that, he was instrumental in the game.”
Catalans, who were missing a multitude of key players in key positions were a bit of sorts, but coach Laurent Frayssinous knows that with all of those players missing, his side just could not compete with a heavyweight like Leeds.
“It was a tough game for us against very good opposition. Leeds were too good for us tonight, it seemed like England versus France at times,” said Frayssinous.
“They strangled us with their last play. They are pretty good at that and have been good at that for many years, with Danny McGuire and Kevin Sinfield.
“Unfortunately, we couldn’t do that when we were attacking their line and that is why they have won so many finals in recent years.”
To further complicate their injury concerns, both Daryl Millard and Ian Henderson were injured, bringing the injury and suspension list to eight players.
“I thought we tried hard, but unfortunately it wasn’t good enough, especially on the last play,” Frayssinous added.
“Injuries unfortunately hit us hard again. We lost Daryl Millard before the game and Ian Henderson just before half-time with a broken radius. We have another eight players out though injury or suspension, so we’re doing it tough at the moment.”