Leeds Rhinos v Castleford Tigers: Interim boss Richard Agar demands more effort from his team

Richard Agar.
Richard Agar.
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Whatever happens tomorrow night, interim coach Richard Agar is demanding more effort from Leeds Rhinos’ players.

Agar admitted Rhinos did not work hard enough, particularly off the ball, when they were dumped out of the Coral Challenge Cup by Championship outfit Bradford Bulls.

Ava Seumanufagai and Wellington Albert close down Jordan Lilley.

Ava Seumanufagai and Wellington Albert close down Jordan Lilley.

That left Leeds to concentrate on their battle against relegation in Betfred Super League and with only two points separating the bottom three, Leeds desperately need to start winning.

They face Castleford Tigers at Emerald Headingley tomorrow and Agar stressed: “We need to get our effort right.”

He said: “You can have all the best gameplans and systems, but if you’re not going to underpin it with effort any system or tactics are a bit irrelevant.

“We have been looking at effort areas like chasing kicks, getting back onside, tackling hard enough, wrestling hard enough, offering shape.

“What we are finding at the moment is people have got effort when they have got the ball in their hand, but working for each other in an effective way is what rolls up into a team performance.

“We’ve seen none of it, if we had got through last week or got a draw it would have been totally unjust based on our effort.”

Agar stressed: “That’s what the shirt demands and if we are going to get any better it’s what we need to demand of each other. If you get that effort it actually covers up some frailties and deficiencies you may have.”

Of Tigers, who have lost their last four games and slipped to seventh in the table, Agar warned: “I still think they are a good team.

“They have got some personnel missing, but they still move the ball about really well.

“They have probably been struggling to find the killer punch on the end of it as successfully as they have over the last couple of years, but Liam Watts and Grant Millington in the middle are very good players, very smart players.

“They have got enough quality and, despite not getting the wins, you can see they are not too far away.

“It was a very difficult weekend to handle and game to watch, but it’s where we’ere at at the moment.

“It’s no good suggesting it was a one-off performance which hadn’t been coming because we weren’t much better the week before at Salford.

“In my short time here we’ve seen collapses in games.

“You look at the second 20 minutes in the first half last weekend when we barely saw the ball, our ability to stick our gloves up in defence was non-existant.

“There’s some attitude areas and effort areas we have got to fix up immediately.”