Brad Dwyer: Leeds Rhinos ace says fully-fit half-backs will mean tries all round in Super League 2022
Hooker Brad Dwyer expects fierce competition for Leeds Rhinos’ top try scorer accolade this year.
Dwyer crossed 12 times in 27 games last term.
That was two more than fellow acting-half Kruise Leeming, with nobody else reaching double figures.
Dwyer’s try tally reflected both his fine form - in the starting lineup or off the bench - and the impact injuries had on Leeds’ play-making half-backs.
But Rhinos have new pivots in Blake Austin and Aidan Sezer this year and Dwyer anticipates the team scoring more tries out wide, though he and Leeming will also be looking to attack when the opportunities arise.
“I think there’s some good stuff to that and some bad,” Dwyer said of the hookers’ try-scoring dominance in 2021.
“Kruise and I were both up there and for our nines to score that many points is obviously really good.
“I think it shows some of our strength as a middle and the way we play - we move teams around and it gives us some opportunity to play through the middle.”
Dwyer added: “That creates some options for us as nines, but the disruption to our halves last year put a lot on me and Kruise as well.
“Hopefully this year we can play well as a team and get plenty of tries on our edges.
“Having the spine playing week-in, week-out will help create that, but hopefully there’ll still be some points for me and Kruise.
“The way we play and the way Rich wants us playing is that we attack from all ends, we can split teams, but when teams defend the full width of the field me and Kruise can exploit that.
“Hopefully we can have a bit more of a balance rather than being top-heavy through the middle, but it’s certainly an asset to us that we’ve got points not only from me and Kruise, but our middle can score as well.”
The new season will be Dwyer’s fifth at Rhinos and his current contract expires at the end of it, making it a big year for him personally.
He stressed: “I am excited for that.
“I have been in my contract year plenty of times - I have normally only had one- or two-year contracts so that’s something I am used to and is good for me.
“I play well under that pressure, but I’d also like to think I have put myself in good stead with the last few years I’ve had.
“I’ve had two or three good, consistent years and I’m very much in the mindset that things will figure themselves out either way, whether that’s at Leeds or not.
“I am just focusing on the rugby and what will be will be.”
Rhinos have a new look in 2022, with four players coming in and eight having left since the end of last season and Dwyer noted: “We have signed really well.
“Let’s hope that all gels and we get a good run without injuries. Certainly the signings we’ve made are great signings and will add to our squad, so it’s exciting times for us.
“It adds competition for places, which is always good and leads to success.”
Dwyer featured in Rhinos’ Boxing Day win over Wakefield, having been in training since day one of pre-season a month earlier.
“This is my 10th or 11th pre-season now and with age you get used to it,” he said of preparations for the new campaign.
“This year, I was really looking forward to it. I was exhausted after last year and going into pre-season I had quite a bit of work to do.
“I was really eager to get back in and get that work done. That was the first part, before Christmas.
“I felt really good on Boxing Day which is normally the first indicator of where you’re at, so I am in good shape and excited to start getting some games under our belt now.”
Rhinos have a fixture every weekend leading up to their Betfred Super League opener at home to Warrington Wolves a month today, starting at Featherstone Rovers on Sunday.
“With the squad we’ve got this year, those chances are valuable for us to put our first foot forward for a starting spot,” Dwyer said.
“Last year we had that many injuries, this year is going to be a bit different - it is going to be hard to get in the team.
“We have got players who can cover everywhere, so I’m really looking forward to putting myself forward in these friendlies.”
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