St Helens 27 Leeds Rhinos 22: Coach Dave Furner ‘proud’ of his team’s fighting display

Ash Handley celebrates with Konrad Hurrell after scoring Leeds Rhinos' third try at St Helens.
Ash Handley celebrates with Konrad Hurrell after scoring Leeds Rhinos' third try at St Helens.
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BOSS DAVE Furner felt Leeds Rhinos’ fans should be “proud” of their team – despite seeing them lose 27-22 at St Helens tonight.

After trailing 10-0 early on, Rhinos staged a stunning rally to go into the break 22-10 ahead. Saints turned things around in the second half, when Leeds did not score, but Rhinos were in the contest until the very end.

Leeds Rhinos head coach Dave Furner.

Leeds Rhinos head coach Dave Furner.

“It was a tremendous effort from Leeds,” Furner said. “Saints were the most consistent team last year, we had a short turnaround, Matt Parcell was on the bus but couldn’t play and we lost Stevie Ward and then Jack Walker.

“But they were still fighting to the end, they showed a lot of character. They need to keep their heads up and fans need to be proud of that team, but we also need to look at the areas we let Saints back in.”

It was Leeds’ third loss in four Betfred Super League games, but Furner added: “We are getting better; as a coach that’s what I look for.

“We have come a fair way since the first game, there were just a few lapses and some soft tries to let them back in.

Jack Walker on the attack.

Jack Walker on the attack.

“From the first game to this game we are looking a better team each week. The players are working hard and if I was a Leeds Rhinos fan I’d be quite proud of that team.”

Several big decisions went against Rhinos, who thought they had levelled the scores late on only for referee Robert Hicks and video assistant Chris Kendall to rule Tui Lolohea had been held up.

Furner said: “I will go through the right channels. We need to look at our own performance.”

Ward (medial knee ligament injury) and Walker (hamstring strain) will both be assessed by Rhinos’ medical staff.