Leeds Rhinos: Brad Dwyer explains how new boss Jamie Jones-Buchanan can turn season around

Hooker Brad Dwyer has outlined how he believes interim-coach Jamie Jones-Buchanan can turn Leeds Rhinos’ season around.

By Peter Smith
Friday, 25th March 2022, 6:00 am
Brad Dwyer. Picture by Tony Johnson.
Brad Dwyer. Picture by Tony Johnson.

Previous boss Richard Agar stepped aside on Monday and James-Buchanan’s first game in charge is a Betfred Challenge Cup sixth round derby at home to Castleford Tigers tomorrow.

Rhinos are third from bottom in Betfred Super League and have lost five of their six games so far this year, but Dwyer insisted: “It is a great team quality-wise; I think it’s just about getting us all on the same page and doing it collectively and [providing] a bit of clarity for us.”

He said: “I think it’s more about simplifying it and, instead of trying to change it all at once, just give us a few points - really simple, clear - that we can all go and deliver on.

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Interim-caoch Jamie Jones-Buchanan watches iover Blake Austin, left and Tom Briscoe in training. Picture by Phil Daly/Leeds Rhinos/SWpix.com.

“If we all deliver on that, collectively, we shouldn’t be in a bad place, because we’ve got a great squad. That’s us going forward, getting some clear points, simple and not too much really, just something we all can follow.”

Dwyer joined Rhinos from Warrington ahead of the 2018 season and Jones-Buchanan is his fifth Leeds coach, after Brian McDermott, Kevin Sinfield/James Lowes, David Furner and Agar.

He said the interim-boss has brought “loads of energy and enthusiasm” to training this week and added: “It is a big challenge, but that’s what rugby league is.

“We have had a fair bit thrown at us, but this week’s goal hasn’t changed.

Brad Dwyer in action agianst Catalans Dragons. Picture by Jonathan Gawthorpe.

“We’ve still got to beat Castleford so we are working hard to get a plan together and to be in a position to get into the next round of the Challenge Cup.”

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Though the change of coach has dominated this week’s rugby league headlines, Dwyer stressed: “We have got a game this weekend so that’s our focus.

“It’s not in our control who coaches us. It has been spoken about by everyone, Rich included, that he couldn’t fault anyone’s effort or intent, but we have all got to be accountable for our performances, whether we’ve got a new coach or not.

“I don’t think there’ll be many people in our squad who’d be happy with how they’re playing. I know I am looking at what I can do to be better now and deliver on that.

“My focus is on making sure I am playing well and doing whatever I can to add to this week and help us get a win.”

Victory tomorrow could be a turning point, but Dwyer said: “For us, it is just week to week.

“Individually, we have to look at our own back garden. Jonesy is really simplifying things so it should be really easy for us to know what our roles are and to deliver on that.

“That’s certainly what my focus is, to deliver on my role this week.

“I would imagine everyone’s similar and if we all do that, as a collective, then we‘ll move on to next week and so the same and hopefully we can all turn it around a bit.

“The good thing is, it is early in the year and we’ve got plenty of games in front of us to turn it around.”

On a personal note, Dwyer has had only limited game time in his regular role as an impact substitute, but accepts he will get longer on the field if he plays better.

“I am not really happy with how I’ve been performing,” he said.

“I want to get into a position where no matter how long I am playing, I am playing well - then I can ask for some more minutes. But I don’t think I have really been knocking the door down with my performances to say I deserve more minutes.

“That’s my focus now. It is a bit of a balance, if the team’s playing well and I am sat on the bench, there’s not much I can do, but the minutes I am on, I want to be performing better and therefore I can say I want a crack at getting a bit more game time. It is about sorting myself out, playing some better rugby and performing well.”