Leeds Rhinos are 'exhausted' admits coach Richard Agar as he reflects on epic Super League win at Warrington Wolves
After three wins in nine days, coach Richard Agar admits Leeds Rhinos are “exhausted”.
Agar will name an initial squad for Friday’s home clash with Betfred Super League leaders Catalans Dragons at noon on Wednesday, around 34 hours after the final whistle in their 22-16 success at Warrington Wolves.
Leeds also beat Leigh Centurions four days before that and Salford Red Devils the previous Sunday.
Rhinos will not train for the first of successive meetings with Catalans when already fatigued players will be forced to put their body on the line yet again.
Leeds are seventh in the table and beginning to mount a push for a place in the play-offs, but Agar admitted: “If I am honest, my thought at the moment is ‘how are we going to back up on Friday’?”
He said: “We are back on again and you could see at the back end of [Monday’s] game it clearly has an effect.
“We are going to get tested over the next couple of weeks because of the schedule we’ve been through and some of the Covid and injury issues we’ve got.”
Of how Rhinos will prepare for Friday, Agar confirmed: “We are just going to give them time off.
“These boys need mentally refreshing.
“In the changing room after a good backs to the wall win like that, you could hear a pin drop.
“The boys are exhausted, absolutely exhausted - I have never heard a changing room so quiet.
“That is just energy and fatigue.
“We probably aren’t going to review the game this week, we’ll give them time off and turn up for a team run on Thursday and try and summon up enough energy to play the team at the top of the competition.”
Leeds led 22-6 early in the second half and Warrington’s tries after the break came in the last 10 minutes, following yellow cards in separate incidents for Liam Sutcliffe and Rob Lui.
The Leeds boss hailed Brad Dwyer’s contribution over the past three games as highlighting the will to win in Rhinos’ camp.
He said: “It was Brad’s third game, playing 80 minutes at hooker in the middle of the field.
“If you watch some of his efforts on cover tackling late in the game, when Warrington were making breaks, I think it typifies the spirit with which we played.”
England’s Mikolaj Oledzki and Combined Nations All Stars duo Kruise Leeming and Matt Prior are on an even more draining schedule.
Oledzki is a doubt for Friday because of a foot injury, but if they play it will be their fifth game in 15 days.
Prior, 34, was named man of the match and Agar revealed the forward felt he was “gone” after 20 minutes.
“That belied his effort,” Agar said.
“Matty is a very quiet, laid back guy but he leads by his actions.”
Agar added: “Kruise had to play half-back and again, he had a really good night, particularly the first half, with the ball.
“He is buzzing at the moment.
“Mik hurt his foot and we had to give him a pain-killing jab.
“We didn’t want to use him again in the second half, he was struggling with that, but with 10 minutes to go, when we were in a bit of a spot, he said ‘get me on’.
“That was another magnificent effort, typical of the sort of spirit and effort we played with for each other.”
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