Leeds Rhinos boss Richard Agar tells his players 'let's be more ruthless' after opening Super League win over Wakefield Trinity
They are off to a winning start, but Leeds Rhinos coach Richard Agar wants his side to be more “hard-nosed”.
“We have to get a bit more ruthless,” Agar said after Leeds’ 28-22 win over Wakefield Trinity in Betfred Super League round one.
He saw his team take an early lead, but then lose their grip on the game - and defensive shape - as Trinity raced 16-4 ahead.
Rhinos showed impressive spirit to fight back into a 22-16 interval lead and the second half scoring was shared.
Reflecting on Rhinos’ second round one win in six seasons, Agar said: “We have got players who like to play, but sometimes one of the improvements we’d like to make is to be a bit more hard-nosed.
“I thought we’d got Wakefield in a reasonable position in the opening part and - certainly when we came out for the second half - I thought we could have been a bit more hard-nosed in how we turned the ball over and been a bit more rock-solid in our systems at times.
“That could have given us a bit more breathing space, but the positives were we came from behind at 16-4 and closed out a tight game.
“I saw some pretty positive traits for round one.”
Kiwi prop Zane Tetevano was Rhinos’ only debutant and Agar said: “He was solid and he will get used to the different style of game.
“Looking at individuals, I thought Matty Prior - as he always does - put in a tremendous stint and Cameron Smith had a terrific impact on our middles.
“We generally put Cam on in the first half, we didn’t put him on until 30 minutes to go and the way he got hold of our middle, the plays he put on, he was very commanding and gave us some terrific direction.”
Twenty-year-old Jack Broadbent scored his first Super League try - which proved to be the winner - and made a vital interception to keep Trinity out late on.
“He did a lot of good things in the game,” Agar said of the youngster after his fourth first team apperarance.
“He had a big handful in Bill Tupou coming at him down that left side all afternoon - Bll Tupou and Tom Johnstone who will cause trouble to any defence.
“The play he came up with at the end was a big one; he was a willing ball carrier, made some terrific runs and scored a great try for us.
“I was really pleased for Jack, because you won’t meet a nicer kid.
“He has shown a stack of promise and I see that as a positive.
“We have been positive about the young group of players we’ve got and it was brilliant to see him play.”
Agar was disappointed with the tries score by Trinity’s wingers Tom Johnstone and Innes Senior, but is confident Rhinos’ defence will improve as the season goes on.
“I said before the game I didn’t think we could start improving now until we started playing,” he said.
“As much pre-season you do and 13 v 13 and you run your defence left against right, unfortunately sometimes until you get in the muck and bullets of the game there’s issues you are not used to.
“I am not thinking we’ve got massive defensive problems, we’ve just got some bits to iron out and that will come a bit easier to us with some more games under our belt.”
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