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Page last updated at 22:20 GMT, Sunday, 1 March 2009

McClennan pays tribute to Manly

Manly celebrate their win
Manly celebrate their victory

Leeds Rhinos coach Brian McClennan admitted Manly Sea Eagles fully deserved their 28-20 win in Sunday's World Club Challenge at Elland Road.

Leeds were looking to become the first side to retain the trophy but McClennan said they had been taught a lesson.

"We wanted to do well in the game and we had a chance to create some history, but it's not to be," he said.

"We showed guts, but the better side on the night got the win and we've got to be gracious in defeat."

Leeds were unfortunate to lose scrum-half Rob Burrow just 16 minutes into his first competitive match of the season.

The England international was left badly dazed by a crunching tackle from man-of-the-match Anthony Watmough and missed the remainder of the game.

It was a great life experience for us to come over here

Manly coach Des Hasler

McClennan added: "Rob is OK at the moment. Obviously there was no chance he could go back on so we just wanted to make sure his health is all right, first and foremost."

Manly coach Des Hasler was in no doubt his side deserved to win, becoming the first NRL side since Sydney Roosters in 2003 to claim the title in the process.

Manly, who came to England as the best prepared Australian side, demonstrated the slick handling and tough defence that accounted for Melbourne Storm in October's NRL Grand Final.

Hasler said: "The scoreline didn't truly indicate the way the game went. I thought we were in control for most of the time out there. We came over here with a plan and the players fulfilled that.

"Overall, I thought it was a wonderful event and I'm very proud of what the players did here.

"They covered themselves in glory and deserved to be crowned World Club champions. It was a great life experience for us to come over here and a challenge, but the players rose to that challenge."

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see also
Leeds 20-28 Manly
01 Mar 09 |  Leeds
Senior targets Manly scalp
25 Feb 09 |  Rugby League
Manly edge to victory over Quins
22 Feb 09 |  Rugby League
Full-strength Manly to face Leeds
09 Jan 09 |  Rugby League
Leeds 11-4 Melbourne
29 Feb 08 |  Rugby League

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