Leeds Rhinos coach Richard Agar in no rush to bring in fresh faces
LEEDS RHINOS boss Richard Agar is content to begin training next week without having brought in a replacement for last season’s assistant-coach Ryan Carr.
Most of Rhinos’ squad are due in on day one of pre-season, on Monday, though several have been given extra time off because of international duty or following surgery.
Carr joined Rhinos midway through last season as a part-time assistant to Agar, combining that with his role as coach of Featherstone Rovers.
He returned home to Australia after guiding Rovers to the Betfred Championship Grand Final, where they lost to Toronto Wolfpack.
Agar is looking to bring in a new assistant, but insisted: “I am not in a rush; it is important we get the right man.”
He said: “At this time of year, a lot of people are fixed up but there’s still plenty of good coaches out there.
“We’re not panicking because we start on Monday; we’ll take our time and see who’s out there and who’s available and make sure we get the right person.”
Agar also confirmed Rhinos are looking to replace forward Nathaniel Peteru who was this week released from the final year of his contract.
Peteru was born in New Zealand and classed as a non-federation-trained player, taking up half a spot on Rhinos’ foreign quota.
As things stand, any overseas player signed to replace him would also need to be non-federation trained.
“We will look to replace Nate,” Agar pledged. “I think the market in Australia has still got a fair bit of movement yet, if we look at Australia.”
Agar paid tribute to Peteru, who joined Rhinos from Gold Coast Titans ahead of the 2018 season and was the 10th member of last year’s squad to leave the playing staff.
He said: “He is a terrific guy and a real team-oriented person. He has done a great job for us and I wish him all the best.”
Meanwhile, Brett Ferres’ future at Rhinos has yet to be decided. The former England back-rower’s contract expired last month and he has not agreed a new deal or found a different club.
“We are not ruling a deal in or out at this stage but obviously, at some point, that will have to be decided,” Agar said.
Captain Trent Merrin, who opted to stay at Leeds after being given permission to look for a club in the NRL, is among the players due in for training on Monday, along with new signings Luke Gale and Alex Mellor.
Mikolaj Oledzki, Cameron Smith and Harry Newman, who featured for England Knights against Jamaica on October 20, have been given an extra week off, but will attend a team meeting on day one, along with England Nines player Ash Handley.
Those recovering from operations include Alex Sutcliffe (thumb), Jack Walker (shoulder), Thomas Holroyd (thumb and ankle) and Tom Briscoe (knee).
Stevie Ward is expected to be fit for pre-season, after suffering a hamstring problem in Rhinos’ final game of the 2019 campaign.