LEEDS RHINOS boss Richard Agar has warned of the danger of focusing on league position ahead of tonight’s home clash with Catalans Dragons.
Rhinos have climbed to eighth in Betfred Super League and a win would move them four points clear of bottom club London Broncos who face a tough game at Castleford Tigers tomorrow.
But Rhinos slipped up at home to Hull KR in similar circumstances last month and Agar has urged his players to keep focused on the job at hand and stick to the game plan this time.
“The danger is to look at the league table,” said Agar whose side are on the back of a 44-0 win at Huddersfield Giants a week ago.
“We have just got to go a game at a time and we are looking forward, not back to what’s happened earlier this year.
“We just want to keep improving each week. They are still all massively important games and we need the points, but I don’t think we are a desperate team.
“We are very focused on doing the parts of the game right every week that will put you in the contest.
“We would like to be better, but we’ve been working towards that for a while now.”
Last week was Rhinos’ most complete performance of the season, but Agar insisted there are areas they need to improve.
“Energy is going to be a big one so we have got to make sure we have the right levels of that and I would still like us to start the game a bit better,” he added.
“Our first kick last week was poor, we handed the ball over on the half-way line and defensively we were really patchy in the first 15, though our tryline defence was good.”
But Agar reckons Rhinos have shown what they are capable of when they stick to what they practice.
“We felt the guys carried out a couple of our pre-game intentions really well,” he said.
“Jermaine McGillvary ran fewer metres than he has all season.
“We set our stall out to do a good job on Jermaine - he is such a major player for them and so difficult to handle - but we kept him to 85 metres which showed a really good effort and concentration from our boys to make that happen.
“We also defused kicks well, we got bodies around the ball, so we were pleased with the way the guys carried out some of the parts of the game we worked on during the week.”
Catalans are fifth after a 30-10 home win over second-placed Warrington Wolves six days ago.
That ended in ugly scenes which led to star men Sam Tomkins and Michael McIlorum being banned and missing tonight’s game.
“There’s different ways they could cover for Sam at full-back,” Agar said.
“Tony Gigot’s an accomplished full-back, David Mead’s a very good player and has played plenty of full-back.
“They could go a number of ways, but Sam is an outstanding player and so influential in attack.
“It will give them a bit of a different lineup which we probably won’t find out about until an hour before kick-off.”