Rugby League

Little to cheer Brian McDermott as Leeds are humbled by Widnes

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Football News

Leeds coach Brian McDermott struggled to take any positives from his side's crushing 56-12 defeat at Widnes which leaves them bottom of Super League after the first two rounds.

The Rhinos conceded 10 tries in their heaviest ever defeat by the Vikings and, to compound their misery, they lost winger Tom Briscoe, full-back Ashton Golding and second rower Carl Ablett with leg injuries that look sure to rule them out of the World Club Challenge.

McDermott did not seek to blame the artificial surface for the injuries and does not believe his players were distracted by the clash with Australian champions North Queensland Cowboys at Headingley next Sunday.

"If it did, it shouldn't do,"McDermott said. "We weren't great.

"The most disappointing things are how we played and the injuries. We're not sure of extent of the injuries but all three are very doubtful next week."

The champions were already without new captain Danny McGuire, who is facing a six-week lay-off after damaging knee ligaments in the opening defeat by Warrington, back-row forwards Jamie Jones-Buchanan and Stevie Ward and new hooker Beau Falloon and McDermott does not expect to get any of them back for the Cowboys game.

"Jamie Jones is close but it would be silly to rush him back," McDermott said. "We will have a look at Beau Falloon but he was going to be in a boot for another 10 days at least so if we do play him it would be a risk. And Stevie Ward is nowhere near."

Leeds lost their newly-injured trio before half-time when the game was already lost with them trailing 28-6 and tries from Kallum Watkins and acting captain Rob Burrow were little more than consolation.

Australian winger Corey Thompson scored a hat-trick of tries on his home debut and Rhys Hanbury kicked eight goals to help the Vikings to a second win in two games that puts them top of the table.

"It's hard not to be so pleased and happy with the performance," said coach Denis Betts, whose side failed to finish in the top eight in 2015.

"We're two games in so we don't want to get carried away but we came into the game with real confidence of winning and to restrict Leeds to 12 points is a real bonus.

"We know we can score tries but we defended with great resilience. We were so composed.

"I thought Lloyd White was the best player on the field by a long way. He was absolutely fantastic and there were lots of performances to support him.

"In the last few years we've lacked consistency and that's one of the things we're trying to drive.

"It's a tough time for Leeds, at the start of the year internationals coming back and the World Club Challenge next week

"We've got to enjoy these moments and the recognition of being a good side."

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