No one is going to forget last night’s game in a hurry.
It was a real classic full of drama, mistakes and controversy as Leeds nicked a vital win in their play-off push thanks to a late try from Blake Austin which gave the Rhinos an 18-14 win over the Huddersfield Giants after a game in which they’d been put under the pump for much of the contest.
It was a game that Huddersfield perhaps should’ve won given the amount of pressure they put Leeds under and Watson believed they would have done had Theo Fages stayed fit.
The halfback coped a bang to the head from former Huddersfield number seven Aidan Sezer as Fages engineered the Giants’ third try of the game from Leroy Cudjoe.
“I thought for large periods we were really dominant,” Watson said, “I thought we were the better side. Apart from the first five minutes of the first half and the second half but other than that I thought we were really dominant we just needed to execute a bit better and it probably went a way a bit more when Theo went off in the last 10 minutes when you need a Theo to be fair.
“We knew we had to patient. We had a belief in us we would crack them.
“Ideally in a game like that away from home you don’t always have the rub of the green and you’ve got to be really resilient in what you’re doing.
“I think if we’d have Theo out there at the end at 14-12 I think we win the game.”
Strangely, Huddersfield didn’t have to lose Fages for the rest of the game. In a rare instance, Fages passed his HIA after the incident but the Giants still felt it wasn’t right to re-introduce him given his history with head knocks.
Certainly not a common decision we say made but it didn’t stop Watson from thinking the incident was not balanced with the Giants losing him for the rest of the game and Leeds just losing Sezer for the 10-minute sin bin.
“He passed his HIA,” Watson revealed, “He’s just had a few head knocks before so it’s just going along with how Theo was feeling.
“If it’s direct contact to the head, is that not a red card? We lose Theo for the rest of the game but they get a sin binning for 10 minutes. I don’t know if the balance is right there.”
Watson also had a passionate say on Chris Hill’s yellow card which led to the try from Blake Austin which decided the game.
Watson said: “I don’t think he deserved a yellow card. It’s pretty plain for everybody to see Speaking in generally, I spoke six weeks ago saying that there’s two many players who are looking to win a penalty.
“There’s going to be a player who’s going to try and win a penalty by means of tipping themselves upside down and seriously injure themselves and the player who is involved is going to have to live with that contest.
“Chris Hill let go off him when he jumped into the air and it shouldn’t have been a yellow card.
“Penalise the player who’s doing it. There’s past players on the match review panel and they’ve all seen things where people are trying to win a penalty.
“Danny Levi stays down in the first half and I don’t like that. We’re not here to try and cheat penalties. You look at the Challenge Cup Final when Farrell gets caught and Yates gets a two-match ban for that.
“There’s been more recently. It’s something we’ve got to clean up.
“If something happens and it’s more when they’re diving down on their own head and if that player breaks his neck, the player involved in that tackle has to live with a massive consequence.
“For me Chris Hill did everything right.
“There are situations in the game for doing that, that’s putting yourself into a dangerous position.”
“We shouldn’t be doing it, when one’s doing it then everyone’s doing it and then you get the kids doing it.
“It’s turning into football.”