Leeds Rhinos coach Richard Agar perplexed by number of yellow cards after defeat to Wakefield Trinity

COACH RICHARD Agar has admitted he is bemused by the number of yellow cards being shown to Leeds Rhinos players.

By Peter Smith
Tuesday, 31st August 2021, 9:23 am

Captain Matt Prior was sin-binned in each half of yesterday’s costly 20-13 defeat at Wakefield Trinity, just five days after Leeds were reduced to 11 men for part of their win away to Wigan Warriors. Prior’s first yellow was for a high tackle after just six minutes and the second came following a skirmish in the final quarter, with Trinity’s Chris Green also being stood down for 10 minutes.

Rhinos have had at least one yellow card in each of their last three matches and Agar said he is “not really sure” why they are happening so often.

“We get sin-bins every week,” Agar noted. “We are very quick to get sin-bins, [we get] sin-bins on the back of touch judges who are 40 metres away giving reports. “I think if we look at our sin-binnings this year, on their own merits, I am not really sure. Richie Myler got sin-binned against Salford for nothing, Zane Tetevano got sin-binned against Huddersfield for nothing.

YELLOW CARD: Matt Prior is held by Jordan Crowther and James Batchelor in Monday's Super League clash between Wakefield Trinity and Leeds Rhinos. Picture: Bruce Rollinson

“Last week was a penalty, but if they are sin-binnings, we are going to have a lot of sin-binnings. We know we are having to work to very, very high standards at the moment because we are very quick to give penalties away and sin-bins. That’s how it feels from our stand-point.”

Agar stressed Rhinos also have to take responsibility.

“A lot of it rests with us,” he admitted.

“We have got to live that discipline a bit better but, at the same time, we are having to adhere to some unbelievably high standards in that department at the moment.”

Wakefield Trinity celebrate with Joe Arundel scoring after the match-winning try against Leeds Rhinos Picture: Bruce Rollinson

Agar confirmed Rhinos are likely to appeal against the three-match ban handed to Tetevano for an alleged reckless high tackle against Wigan.

He was eligible to play yesterday but, if the penalty notice is upheld, will miss the rest of the regular season.

Despite his frustration with the yellow cards, Agar accepted Leeds’ performance against Wakefield was not good enough.

“The big thing that hurt us was what we did and didn’t do with the ball,” he conceded.

TOUGH DAY: Leeds Rhinos head coach Richard Agar, pictured at Belle Vue on Monday. Picture Bruce Rollinson

“We didn’t build any pressure, we went chasing points on play two and play three, threw ourselves into touch, got half-breaks and looked to kick the ball instead of building pressure.

“I think, when we look back on it, we’ll see a game that was played in our half for the big percentage of it.”

Agar added: “Given that, I actually thought we defended all right.

“Our discipline with the ball was atrocious, but I thought we tried to back it up defensively really well.

David Faftita celebrates with Joe Arundel scoring Wakefield's match-winning try against Leeds Rhinos Picture Bruce Rollinson

“I can find some positives in that, but I think we barely had 13 sets in the second half.

“Our good-ball completion was as low as it has ever been while I’ve been here.

“The game was played in our half pretty much from start to finish.”

Leeds have three games remaining in the regular season and Agar believes they can still qualify for the play-offs.

“Coming up with performances like that aren’t going to get us very far, but I am confident we can fix it up,” he said.

“Like Wakefield, we had limited preparation going into the game.

“We had a day more than them so I would have expected a bit more but, at the same time, when you are playing this much football in a short space of time it can have an effect on your squad.

“I think that’s right across the competition, so we will see.

“We’ve three games left, two against teams fairly close to us, so it’ll be down to us.”

Half-back Callum McLelland suffered a leg injury late in yesterday’s game.

“He is in a bit of discomfort, but it’s too early to say [how serious it is],” Agar reported.