Leeds Rhinos reaction - coach Richard Agar explains what went wrong and right in the 13-12 Betfred Super League win over Huddersfield Giants

Boss Richard Agar praised Leeds Rhinos' will to win and gritty defensive effort following their latest last-gasp, one-point win over Huddersfield Giants.

Saturday, 12th September 2020, 9:54 am
Updated Saturday, 12th September 2020, 9:58 am
Tom Briscoe scores Rhinos' second try in their comeback win over Giants. Picture by Bruce Rollinson

It was the second time in five matches Rhinos had hit back to beat Giants through a Luke Gale drop goal.

Rhinos trailed 10-0 midway through Friday's rain-lashed derby at St Helens, but a dominant second-half performance sealed a precious win.

Huddersfield scored one try before the break, but some strong Rhinos defence prevented them building a bigger lead and Agar admitted: “The main thing is we found a way to win.”

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He said: “There was a stark contrast between our first half performance and our second half performance.

“I thought we started the game very, very ordinary - both in attack and defence. I didn’t think it improved much in attack right throughout the half, but I thought with the injection of our bench - Donno [James Donaldson] and Brad Dwyer - we defended pretty well after the opening 15 minutes.

“We spent the first half playing off our tryline.”

Agar, who also welcomed the return of substitutes Konrad Hurrell and on-loan Brett Ferres, admitted there was some “really poor discipline areas” before the break.

He conceded: “In poor conditions, playing field position and territory is very important and I felt Huddersfield did it miles better than us.

“If we hadn’t defended quite well, 10-0 could have looked a lot different.”

The final 40 minutes were a huge improvement as Rhinos scored two concerted tries and then Gale’s one-pointer won it after Giants had levelled with a penalty goal.

Agar added: “Half-time was good for us, to say ‘if we are going to come off our tryline all night it is going to be a long night for us, but we need to play with a bit more shape and be prepared, even in the conditions, to pass the ball, change some angles and move the ball a bit’.

“We said we had to be prepared to play a bit of field position in the knowledge if you spend enough time down there you’re going to get one or two opportunities.

“There was a big impact off our bench and a couple of [important] plays in there - Alex Sutcliffe bending his back off the kick-off and forcing an error was massive for us and James Donaldson - after four weeks out with a broken back - came up with so many dominant tackles.”

Agar admitted pre-match disruption, caused by a coronavirus scare, played a part in Leeds’ poor start, but also praised Giants’ performance.

“I don’t think we were off in effort,” he said. “It was more some discipline areas and concentration.”

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