Leeds Rhinos: New signings Blake Austin, Aidan Sezer and James Bentley please coach Richard Agar in Wetherby Whaler Festive Challenge win over Wakefield Trinity

Leeds Rhinos new faces impressed coach Richard Agar in the 34-6 Boxing Day win over Wakefield Trinity.

Monday, 27th December 2021, 5:47 pm

Half-backs Blake Austin and Aidan Sezer and second-rower James Bentley all made their first appearance for Leeds.

Rhinos’ other off-season signing, winger David Fusitu’a, was at the game and spoke to the crowd before kick-off, but did not play.

Of his half-backs - who played together for Canberra Raiders in Australia’s NRL - Agar admitted: “We would expect some of our attack to be a bit clunky the first time we’ve played together, but also there were some bits of management in there and I thought the way they kicked the ball was a good sign for us moving forward.”

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Blake Austin in Boxing Day action. Picture by Steve Riding.

Leeds-born Bentley made his comeback from a back injury suffered playing for St Helens at the Magic Weekend in September.

Agar rated his performance as “good”, saying: “High energy, as we know.

“Defensively he was very good, he sets the tone on line speed and contact and I thought our right-edge - which probably got most of the traffic in the first half - came up with some good defensive plays when they had to.”

Rhinos got through “fairly unscathed”, Agar confirmed.

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“James [Bentley] felt a bit of soreness in an Achilles so we took him off,” he reported.

“Aidan rolled his action a fraction, but nothing too much for us to worry about.

“The first question I asked Willie [Poching, Wakefield’s coach] after the game was ‘how are you doing in that regard’ and I think both teams have come through fairly unscathed.

“I think both teams had a good crack. They probably had some unfamiliar names on the teamsheet, but I thought they came and played with tons of enthusiasm.”

Most of Rhinos’ players will now get a break before training resumes in the new year.

Agar said: “A lot of the guys who haven’t played, who are maybe coming back from injuries, will be in, making sure we are on top of all that.

“Everybody who played [yesterday] will be off until January 2 or 3, but our training centre is manned and we’ve got some bits to do over that period.

“It is not a complete shutdown for us.”