DEVELOPING A “team first” mentality is the way Leeds Rhinos will turn their season around, according to boss Richard Agar.
We all did our jobs. Danny Brough has got a great kicking game and I thought we handled that pretty well.Richard Agar
The interim-coach was delighted with Rhinos’ collective effort in their morale-boosting 10-0 win at Wakefield Trinity – and reckons that is the way forward as Leeds look to climb away from relegation danger.
It was just Leeds’ sixth victory of the campaign and though some players have performed well this year, Rhinos have rarely clicked as a unit.
Their rugged defensive effort against Trinity was an indication of what they are capable of when that happens and Agar insisted: “I think the key for us is to get the best out of each other as a team.”
He stressed: “I think there’s a lot of good things and systems in place in this team. The key is to get us all buying in and doing it together with a real team-first mentality, a little bit better than we have been doing.
“We have all got to – and are doing – make a real conscious effort to buy into that.”
It was noticeable Rhinos players celebrated when they forced Trinity into errors or won defensive battles.
Agar admitted that is something he wants to see more of.
“That’s a terrific example of a team that are united and showing a bit of brotherhood for each other,” he said.
“We have been working hard on some fundamentals at training and understanding about effort areas and what victories on the field need to look like for us – and celebrating them.
“You probably have the ball in hand or are making a tackle for six or seven minutes in a game so it’s everything you are doing off the ball is what makes a team performance.”
Rhinos remain third from bottom in Betfred Super League, but Agar felt the win three days ago was a step forward.
After the victory over London Broncos at the Magic Weekend in Liverpool it was the first time Leeds have won successive Super League fixtures since April last year and the clean sheet was a shot in the arm for a team who had been conceding an average of almost 27 points per game.
“In the first half, they had four or five back-to-back sets and I thought we stayed pretty composed,” Agar said of Rhinos’ defensive performance.
“We all did our jobs. Danny Brough has got a great kicking game and I thought we handled that pretty well.
“Hopefully, we can take a lot from nilling a good attacking team like Wakefield.”
Agar added: “There are parts of the game we need to manage better. We still need some more improvements in our kicking game, though I thought it was a step in the right direction, but we showed some good resilience and some terrific commitment to each other to keep a very good team scoreless.
“But there’s still a long way to go and we know we have still got to get much better.”
Full-back Jack Walker missed the game following a recurrence of his recent hamstring problem, but could be in contention for Friday’s huge home Super League encounter with Wigan Warriors.
“He tweaked his hamstring against London,” Agar confirmed. “We brought him off as a precaution and on the checks and scans he was probably running at about 95 per cent.
“We want him back and we need him back in our team, but back in our team for a run of games, not for one game and then to feel his hamstring again.
“At a push he could have played, but we feel (we had to make) a decision for the long-term, not the short-term. We are going week to week at the moment and trying to focus on the rest of the year, not just getting desperate for one game.”
Long-term casualty Stevie Ward, who has not played since damaging a knee in the round three defeat at St Helens four months ago, is expected to be available when Rhinos face Catalans Dragons at Emerald Headingley on June 30.