Disciplinary lessons will be learned says Leeds Rhinos’ Brad Dwyer
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Dwyer served a one-game ban when Rhinos lost at Wigan Warriors six days ago and is back in the squad for tonight’s visit of Catalans Dragons.
Team-mate James Bentley has three games of a four-match suspension still to serve and Rhinos’ Blake Austin and James Donaldson have also fallen foul of the disciplinary process this year.
Super League’s first two rounds saw a flurry of red and yellow cards as referees adopted a no-tolerance policy towards late tackles on the passer and any contact with the head.
Dwyer, who was sin-binned in Leeds’ defeat by Warrington Wolves two weeks ago, admitted players have to modify their behaviour.
“With the way it is at the moment, we have got to be careful,” he warned.
“We understand the reasons, it is just going to take some adapting and being squeaky clean.
“I have got a decent history with discipline and I don’t think I’ve been sin-binned before.
“It is just basically about understanding the limits; there was no malice in what I did, it was probably just a timing thing.
“I thought I could get to [Gareth] Widdop when he had the ball in hand and create an error.
“It is one of those things where you’ve got to assess the risk. For me to try and get a mistake out of Widdop is not really worth it any more – it is not worth the 10 minutes it would cost or any ban I’d get later on.
“It is just about adapting to that. It was a costly error for us and hopefully I’ve learned my lesson. I think across Super League everyone will be learning that lesson pretty quick, with how strict they are being.”
The suspension cost Dwyer a place in Leeds’ side to take on his hometown club.
“It was really disappointing to miss the Wigan game, which is one of my favourite fixtures of the year, to go and play at the DW,” he said.
“But it is what it is and I am just excited to get back out there and play again, in front of our fans.
“We’ve got a few things to put right from last week and we need to get off the zero.”
Rhinos are hoping to make it third time lucky tonight and Dwyer stressed: “We are confident in the team, squad and systems we’ve got.
“It is round three – clearly we weren’t happy with what we put out last week, but Wigan are a great team as well.
“You only need to be a tiny bit off and the areas where we were a bit off, we showed in pre-season and the Warrington game they are not an issue, so it’s a quick fix up.
“If we do the things we can do and don’t have someone sent-off and someone sin-binned, we will be in with a shot of getting the points.”
Rhinos were fifth last year and after tonight will still not have played a team who finished below them in 2021.
“We’ve played Warrington, Wigan and Catalans in the first three rounds,” Dwyer added.
“It would be disappointing if we didn’t pick anything up, but they are three great teams and it is early on in the year, so I don’t think there’s too much to worry about.
“It’s about sticking to what we know, getting out there and putting it in place and we won’t be too far off.”
Catalans, last year’s league leaders, lost at St Helens in round one and got off the mark with a two-point home victory over Wakefield Trinity five days ago.
They are on a four-game winning run against Leeds, but Dwyer pledged: “We know if we play like we can play we will challenge anyone.
“The big focus for us is making sure we turn up and we put in a decent performance, like we expect from each other.
“Hopefully there will be a bit of a reaction on the back of last week.”
Rhinos also want to give their home fans something to cheer about, Dwyer said.
“It is great for us to play in front of them,” he stated. “We want to give them something to get on board with and excited about when they turn up and watch us.
“That’s one of the main reasons we play rugby and we are fortunate the fan base at Leeds is great. It’s a great atmosphere to play in and it’s a goal of ours to fuel that with our performance.”