Disappointed coach Richard Agar’s blast for faltering Leeds Rhinos

“MAJORLY-DISAPPOINTED” coach Richard Agar didn’t pull his punches after Leeds Rhinos crashed to a fourth successive defeat last night.

Friday, 23rd April 2021, 10:05 pm
Updated Friday, 23rd April 2021, 10:55 pm
Bright spot: Brad Dwyer celebrates scoring Leeds' only try against Hull KR on a disappointing night for the Rhinos. Picture Bruce Rollinson

Rhinos were crushed 26-6 at Hull KR, in Betfred Super League despite having welcoming five experienced players back from injury.

Leeds trailed 16-0 after 26 minutes and Agar admitted his men were second best in all departments.

“I thought our start to the game was woeful,” Agar conceded.

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Going nowhere: Leeds winger Luke Briscoe is stopped in his tracks by Rovers' Ethan Ryan. Picture Bruce Rollinson

“We dropped the ball in the first set, had the ball stolen, put them down their end and then gave a penalty away – that’s within seven minutes of the game starting.

“I thought our application and our execution were really poor.

“We have done it tough for two or three weeks and really aimed up in effort, spirit and determination and I felt this was a very flat and energy-less performance from us.”

Agar felt some players “ripped in and tried to haul it back for us”, but accepted: “Across the board we had so many who were off the pace.

“Errors, penalties, six-agains, you are always going to be up against it with such poor execution of fundamentals of the game.”

Leeds rarely put Rovers under sustained pressure and their final tackle

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plays were disappointing, but Agar felt they were below-par in all areas.

“I thought we looked like a team, with the ball, that had been thrown together this afternoon,” he added.

“I understand we’ve not had a lot of continuity, particularly in our spine and in our team selection.

“I wouldn’t expect us at this stage to be fully in the flow.

“We’ve got a number of players coming back after fairly lengthy injuries and it’s good having those names on the teamsheet, but at the same time, we didn’t expect them to hit the ground running in one game.

“What we have seen in the last three games is plenty of effort and determination and the ability to compete in every aspect of the game.

“I didn’t think we did that from the word go.”

King Vuniyayawa made his second Rhinos appearance, off the bench, after being knocked out just minutes into his debut against St Helens two weeks ago.

Agar felt the Fijian forward was one of the few players to emerge with any credit.

“King was the stand-out,” he said.

“He played a really long stint and was a handful when he carried the ball.

“He tried to whack people defensively and I thought once he got through the initial period, when he was blowing a bit, he put a great stint in.

“I thought our middle at times really tried hard, but we were so far off.

“We are not that good a team, particularly with the personnel we’ve got out at the moment, that we can have guys who are so far off.

“We need to have 17 blokes performing to the right level.

“Three or four down and it hurts you and we had more down than that tonight.”

Agar credited Rovers’ performance, but admitted it will be a “long, hard video” when Rhinos review their own effort.

To add to their woes, Rhinos lost centre Alex Sutcliffe who rolled an ankle in the second half.

And they went into the game without forward Cameron Smith who is set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

Agar explained: “He has hurt his hamstring tendon.

“He will be out for a number of weeks.”

Rhinos’ next game is away to Huddersfield Giants, who have yet to win in Betfred Super League this year, a week tomorrow and Agar admitted some of the young players left out last night could come back into consideration.

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