Hull KR boss Tony Smith insists he won't "kick his boys" too much after a heavy 52-10 loss at Leeds Rhinos.
Rovers - tipped by many for relegation - had started the season in positive fashion with a win over Wakefield Trinity followed by an encouraging display in a narrow defeat at Hull FC.
However, they were given a reminder of what they will face in Super League last night as ruthless Leeds burst into an 18-0 lead just after the quarter mark and never looked back.
“They were certainly sharper than us tonight, that’s for sure,” said Smith.
“I thought they created some of their own luck, particularly in the first half.
"Then after that I thought we weren’t good enough in some areas and they certainly took advantage of that.
“I’m not going to kick my boys too much because they’re still trying hard.
"We’re going to have some flatter days, particularly after some big efforts; we’ve had a couple of really big efforts in the last couple of weeks and done a pretty good job against some formidable opponents.
“We’re going to have that occasion where it’s just going to flatten out for us. That was tonight.
“I don’t know if you hold the opposition up over the tryline seven or eight times in a match unless you’re trying hard. They’re trying hard, my boys.”
Rovers' plans weren't helped when half-back Jamie Ellis pulled his hamstring in the warm-up just minutes before kick-off prompting Jordan Abdull to come in to the starting line-up despite not even being in the original 17.
Smith said: "It's one of the tests rugby league throws up to you.
"I thought Jordan did OK considering the amount of time he had to get ready for that. He was thrown in at the deep end."
Greg Minikin and Abdull scored their tries, one in each half, and Rovers defended their line with real spirit at times.
Smith was asked about the lack of physical size of his some of his squad as, missing some key forwards such as ex-Leeds players Mitch Garbutt and Weller Hauraki, they got rolled too easily on occasions.
But he replied: "Will Maher is probably as big as anybody on the park and Trouty (Kyle Trout) is probably equal.
“Listen, we’ve got a few boys who aren’t there and we can talk about that till the cows come home, or who we’re going to get in and all that sort of stuff.
“Unless you’ve got a magic wand and can create something for us, we go on with what we’ve got.
“My boys are trying hard and if there’s some way of improving by bringing someone in we’ll do that when appropriate. But in the meantime it is what it is with what we’ve got.
"Our boys have done a pretty good job the last couple of weeks. Whether they can do that two, three, four weeks in a row, I’m not sure. We’ll find that out.”