Rohan Smith was full of praise for his Leeds Rhinos outfit following their 22-6 victory over Warrington, confirming his side finished the game with 12 men following the withdrawal of Aidan Sezer.
Leeds took an early lead inside the Halliwell Jones Stadium thanks to a brace from Ash Handley, while Sam Walters crossed for the opening try, all inside the first 15 minutes.
The score remained 16-0 until the break, with almost 50 minutes gone until the next points, with the hosts grabbing their first – and only – try of the game through winger Matty Ashton, converted by Stefan Ratchford.
But full-back Richie Myler sealed the victory against his former side in front of the home crowd on 70 minutes to lift the side just two points from the play-offs.
“It was a quality performance,” Smith said.
“I think to shut out a high-performing team that has won a lot of games this year, we didn’t give them an opportunity in the game.
“It was a good, hard-fought game for the most part. But once we got hold of the scoreboard, we didn’t give them a look in.
“I thought we defended very well in the first half particularly and thought in the second we scrambled hard.
“The only try scored tonight was somewhat questionable at least. I enjoyed the scramble there at the end.”
Rohan Smith explains Aidan Sezer withdrawal
Smith confirmed the withdrawal of 32-year-old Sezer was all-but precautionary, having only been taken off in the latter minutes of the Round 17 fixture.
The Australian playmaker assisting the game’s first try for Wigan-bound Walters, with Blake Austin having initially made the break through the Warrington defence.
“We took off Aidan Sezer in the end who took a bit of a knock, so we finished with 12 men.
“He just had a bit of a knock there.
“We used our interchanges a little bit earlier than we’d normally would based on trying to keep our middle really strong and big to try and combat Warrington’s middle.
“Once the game was sort of decided on the scoreboard, with three or four minutes to go, I just decided to play with 12.”