Agar's agenda: Crucial week for Leeds Rhinos ahead of Super League Magic Weekend clash with Hull FC

There was little for Leeds Rhinos to smile about after their three-match winning run came to an end away to Wakefield Trinity.

By Peter Smith
Tuesday, 31st August 2021, 6:55 pm

The 20-13 defeat was marred by another injury - to the luckless Callum McLelland - and two more yellow cards as Rhinos fell flat after the big victory at Wigan Warriors five days earlier.

They are back in action when they face Hull at Magic Weekend on Saturday and here’s what might be on coach Richard Agar’s agenda ahead of that game.

1: Got away with it. Rhinos’ fate is still in their own hands. The three teams immediately below them also lost so Leeds remain fifth and will probably stay in the top-six even if they lose to Hull this weekend.

Brad Dwyer is Rhinos' top try scorer, with 11. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.

2: Anything could happen. Leeds visit St Helens a week on Friday and finish their regular campaign at home to Hull KR. Of the teams also chasing play-offs spots, Castleford Tigers’ final three games are Salford Red Devils at Magic, Hull KR (away) and Warrington Wolves (home), Hull are at home to Wigan and away against Wakefield and, after Sunday’s meeting with Leigh Centurions, Hull KR play Cas (home) and Leeds (away). So, even at this late stage, it’s impossible to predict a favourite.

3: Discipline. Rhinos had an extra day’s rest, but Wakefield looked fresher. That’s because Leeds are playing at least a quarter of each game with a man down. Most of their recent sin-binnings have looked harsh and, in a couple of cases, the referee got it wrong, but Rhinos can’t avoid some of the blame. It’s difficult in a contact sport, but Leeds have to be squeaky-clean. The four-nil, second-half penalty count against them at Wakefield was a big factor in the result.

4: Defence: Rhinos are defending fairly well, but - unsurprisingly given all the disruption in the halves - their attack isn’t flowing. There were some poor options taken against Trinity, particularly kicking when running seemed the better choice. It’s things they can fix up, but they’ll have to do it quickly.

5: Brad Dwyer. He has been good all year and improved massively under Agar. The same applies to fellow hooker - and emergency half-back - Kruise Leeming, but the fact they are the top two try scorers - with 11 and nine respectively - says a lot about Rhinos’ season.

The defeat at Wakefield was a setback for Rhinos. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.

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Richard Agar. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.