Here’s what might be on coach Richard Agar’s agenda as he attempts to coax another big effort from his weary, but in-form, side.
1: Can they do it again? Clubs aren’t usually compelled to play on a four-day turnaround, but Friday will be Rhinos’ third of those in succession. The players were out on their feet at the end of Monday’s 22-16 win at Warrington Wolves and the question this week isn’t whether Leeds are good enough to upset the league leaders, it is can they find the energy to back up yet again?
2: Is Matt Prior a robot? After big cycle races, some competitors’ bikes are now examined for so-called ‘mechanical doping’, to ensure they haven’t been fitted with a hidden motor. After his super-human efforts over the past two weeks, the RFL might be tempted to check if Leeds’ 34-year-old forward has a heart or an engine. He was immense against Warrington and must now be right up there with Rhinos’ best overseas signings of the summer era.
3: Spoiled for choice at half-back and hooker. Luke Gale is now available following a two-match suspension and there’s no doubt he will come straight into the pivots against Catalans. But Kruise Leeming has done a fine job standing in and it seems Rhinos have finally found the back-up play-maker they have lacked this year. Leeming will presumably now revert to hooker, but with Brad Dwyer playing so well, Agar has a big decision to make on who starts Friday’s game.
4: Rhyse Martin. The Papua New Guinea captain is out of contract at the end of this season and Rhinos have signed St Helens second-rower James Bentley for the next two years. But after a below-par start to the year, Martin has hit top form and will be a loss if he leaves.
5: Pack promise. Whatever happens with Martin and Prior, who is also out of contract in November, Leeds’ pack has huge potential. Young players Mik Oledzki, already one of the best in Super League, Thomas Holroyd, Morgan Gannon, Jarrod O’Connor and Sam Walters will only get better as they continue to develop.
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