Leeds Rhinos boss Richard Agar so proud of ‘brilliant’ Magic Weekend display
LEEDS RHINOS coach Richard Agar “could not have been prouder” of his side after their crucial 25-24 extra-time win over Hull at the Dacia Magic Weekend in Newcastle.
Rhinos are fifth in Betfred Super League with two games of the regular season remaining and now favourites to claim one of the final places in the top-six play-offs.
After taking an early 8-0 lead, they trailed by two points at the break and were 10 adrift with half an hour remaining, but Jack Broadbent’s 73rd-minute try sent the game into extra-time.
Both teams missed multiple chances before Kruise Leeming landed the winning one-pointer – the first of his career – in the 88th minute.
Agar said: “I told the players after the game, if we hadn’t won I couldn’t have faulted their effort. The effort and determination was absolutely incredible.”
The Leeds boss insisted: “I felt we deserved to win, even though there wasn’t much in it. Pretty much every point of theirs came off kicks, which they are exceptionally good at.
“We probably needed to deal with a couple of them better, but we kept bouncing back off the ropes and our effort in the last 17-18 minutes and then subsequently into golden point was incredible.
“We shut them down on drop goal attempts and found the energy to play with the ball when we got it, too.”
Leeming, Richie Myler and Rhyse Martin all saw kicks fail to find the target before the decisive goal.
“Getting a drop goal was potentially always going to be a challenge, given the make-up of our side,” Agar admitted.
“I didn’t think [Marc] Sneyd would need many attempts or much field position to nail one.
“I just applaud what was a brilliant, brilliant effort.”
Of his thoughts when Leeming’s kick went over, he said: “Thank goodness, because I didn’t think we were going to get another chance.
“I didn’t think we could give away another seven-tackle set and stop them eventually coming down field.
“Anywhere in your half is generally good for a drop goal and I thought there were only so many times we could go through that cycle before it’d eventually get us.”
Rhinos lost stand-off Rob Lui early on to a head injury which will keep him out of Friday’s game at St Helens.
That left them without a specialist play-maker, but Agar praised the way other members of the team stepped up.
“To be able to summon up the effort and commitment to do what we’ve been able to do today, I could not be a prouder coach,” he said.
“I’d pay a massive tribute to Jack Broadbent, it was his first game since July and he was tremendous.
King [Vuniyayawa] had a great game too, [Morgan] Gannon got through another 80 minutes for us and yet again, Kruise was one of our best players.”
Castleford Tigers are sixth after a tense win over Salford Red Devils in day one’s opening game and Catalans Dragons secured the league leaders’ shield with a golden-point defeat of Saints, after trailing by 18 with five minutes left.
“It was great drama, from both sets of players,” Agar said of Leeds’ match. “The games before us were tremendous too. It has been a truly great, entertaining day for the sport.”
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