PERSONNEL CHANGES could be made in the middle of the field when Leeds Rhinos play host to Hull on Sunday.
Rhinos’ interim-coach Richard Agar will name his initial 19-man squad on Friday.
Scrum-half Richie Myler will miss out because of suspension, but long-term casualties Carl Ablett (ankle), Stevie Ward (knee) and Dom Crosby (knee) are the only senior players on Rhinos’ injury list, though academy prop Tom Holroyd’s leg is in a protective boot.
Nathaniel Peteru and Jamie Jones-Buchanan are both back in training after injury and Mikolaj Oledzki is another option after not being selected for last week’s 32-16 loss to Hull KR. Fellow prop Brad Singleton is available following a one-game ban and could make his 200th career appearance this weekend.
“We will work out how we are going to cover for Richie, but we have a clean bill of health,” Agar said.
“We have put our middles on notice this week.
“We aren’t naming our team too early – I want to put our middle guys on edge a bit and see who can get the job done right in training.
“We want to see who can perform with a bit of pressure on.
“That was the disappointing thing last week – there were certainly no signs going into the game that we were off.
“The opposition played well on us, but at the same time the areas of the game that have served us well – being committed to each other and working hard from the inside – weren’t there.”
Hull can be a devastating attacking team on their day and Agar is stressing the importance of regaining the defensive standards Leeds had been showing before last week.
He said: “Apart from the first five minutes and last five at St Helens, defensively we have been really happy with our ethic over a number of weeks now.
“We just feel last weekend that deserted us. We didn’t commit to the levels we had committed to and it was certainly an ugly first 20.
“It is really important we select the right team from a defensive point of view this week to get the job done because they are a team whose spine are all very good players and have been together as a unit for a fair amount of time.
“They have got some ball-playing middles and they throw plenty at you.”