Leeds Rhinos boss Richard Agar cool despite downturn in fortunes

LEEDS RHINOS boss Richard Agar maintains his struggling squad are not getting “too ruffled” by their losing run – and are looking forward to getting back into action against Huddersfield Giants.

Thursday, 29th April 2021, 11:55 am
UNRUFFLED: Leeds Rhinos head coach Richard Agar. Picture: Phil Daly/Leeds Rhinos/SWpix.com.

They have lost four successive games ahead of Sunday’s trip to John Smith’s Stadium when Rhinos are expected to still be without at least ten first-team players.

After Friday’s 26-6 loss at Hull KR, Agar said only Liam Sutcliffe has a chance of returning this weekend but Alex Sutcliffe was injured in that game and his side have also now lost Richie Myler to a two-game ban.

“I don’t think we’ve had a game where we haven’t had less than 10 players missing, so it goes without saying that it will impact us,” said Agar.

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POSITIVE VIBES: Huddersfield Giants coach Ian Watson. Picture: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com.

“It’s also in training as well when we’re trying to execute some defensive stuff and have good plays thrown at us.

“But we have got a really positive bunch of blokes who aren’t getting too rattled or too ruffled by the situation.

“We know we have just got to keep working hard and if we do that things will change for us.”

Although Leeds have only won once in Super League this season – the opening game of the campaign against Wakefield Trinity – Sunday’s opponents Huddersfield have yet to get off the mark.

Like Wakefield Trinity and Leigh Centurions, they have lost all four league games so far so it has been a difficult start for Ian Watson since he took over in the autumn.

However, Giants were competitive against champions St Helens on Friday in a narrow 18-10 loss and had, like Leeds, lost at Hull KR the previous week but only after Jordan Abdull’s late drop goal in a 25-24 defeat.

Asked how he assesses them, Agar said: “I think they have been trying hard – really hard.

“A bit like us, they had a fairly flat and poor performance over at Hull KR.

“I read Watto’s comments after they played Saints, saying if they’d had that effort the week before they’d have won. We could probably think similar ourselves. But at the same time I don’t want to disrespect the opposition and I think Hull KR have been going all right – they have been going really well in a lot of games and asking plenty of questions of teams.

“I think that is the competition at the moment; right now when you look from top to bottom, most teams are in games most of the time.”

Agar continued: “It’s still early days. I look at Giants and think they are certainly a well-organised defensive team.

“They have a lot of emphasis on what they do in the ruck.They have some terrific players. I don’t know if Jake Wardle will play but he’s a player of immense talent, Lee Gaskell’s been unlocking defences and doing some really good things for them in attack, they kick the ball well from shape and I just don’t think they are too far away.

“I know a lot of pundits at the start of the year were saying they’d be top four and challenging.

“Despite them not having a win, they well may prove to be.

“They’re on the start of their journey and have been close, and not just quite got the result. They performed pretty well for long periods of the game on Friday night.”

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