Brad Dwyer hails Leeds Rhinos' youngsters - fringe players have proved their worth in pre-season
The way young players have stepped up has been a highlight of Leeds Rhinos’ pre-season, according to livewire hooker Brad Dwyer.
With some senior men unavailable, either due to injury or being out of the country, the next generation have had an opportunity to impress the coaching staff ahead of Rhinos’ Betfred Super League opener against Wakefield Trinity at Emerald Headingley on Saturday, March 27
“We’ve had a lot of interruptions, but when we’ve been in, we’ve looked really good, training really hard,” Dwyer reported.
“We’ve had quite a few players missing - with Covid and injuries - but the young boys are looking great.
“One thing with the young boys is they bring a lot of enthusiasm, so it is going well.”
Dwyer played alongside Rhinos’ emerging youngsters in games against St Helens and Wakefield last year and knows what they are capable of.
“They look really good, the standard of training is really good,” he added. “I know from experience it is hard to get game minutes when you are younger and that’s what you need to progress.
“Hopefully this will bode well for them for the future in their career.”
Fringe players could get another opportunity this year if Rhinos are hit by injuries or coronavirus.
Dwyer said: “Certainly, that’s a factor.
“We are going to need them at some point during the year, but not only that, we need a deep squad so we test each other in training every day and keep each other competitive.
“If the younger boys are training well against us, it is a higher standard for us to defend and attack against.
“That bodes well for the weekend games, playing against decent opposition.”
Rhinos had an opposed training session against York City Knights last week and are in good shape across the board, Dwyer reckons.
“Pre-season has been really good, we have done a lot of game running, it has not just been floggings,” he said.
“We are hitting our distances that we need and our speeds we need on the GPS, but it is all done with ball in hand.
“It is enjoyable that way, so it has been good.
“Plus the fact there’s not much going on away from the ground and not being able to do much, it makes you want to be in training.
“There’s not that doom and gloom of it being pre-season.”
Rhinos will visit Huddersfield Giants for a warm-up game on Sunday, before kicking off their league campaign 13 days later.
“We are itching to get out there playing, but we are not really focusing too much on the start of the year,” Dwyer insisted.
“We are just enjoying what we are going through and we will be ready to go in round one.
“We are excited for that and hopefully it’s not too long before fans come back.”
Supporters could be allowed into games from the middle of May.
The last time Rhinos played in front of a crowd was a 66-12 thrashing of Toronto Wolfpack on March 5 last year and Dwyer admitted: “One thing to take from it is we realise how lucky we are to do that normally.
“It’s disappointing we are not doing it [playing in front of crowds] at the moment, but it has highlighted why I play rugby and how fortunate we are.
“We will certainly make the most of it and appreciate it when we do get that crowd rocking in Headingley.”
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