Liam Sutcliffe is lone returnee for injury-hit Leeds Rhinos
As much as Leeds Rhinos are still struggling with injuries and suspensions, boss Richard Agar says it “just isn’t feasible” for them to enter the loan market.
They have lost four successive games ahead of Sunday’s trip to Huddersfield Giants when Rhinos are expected to still be without a raft of first-team players.
After Friday’s 26-6 loss at Hull KR, Agar said only Liam Sutcliffe has a chance of returning this weekend so Leeds remain without plenty of key personnel especially as Richie Myler has since been banned for two games.
Wakefield Trinity - one of three clubs along with Huddersfield and Leigh Centurions still awaiting a first Super League win after four rounds - have brought two players in on loan this week to ease their own selection concerns.
But Agar said: “We haven’t considered loanees because we feel that we’ve got guys coming back soon.
“To bring a loanee in for a week or two, or someone who can help your team, just isn’t feasible. There are better times around the corner; recruitment is always a 12-month a year project.
“There’s not a week that goes by without conversations about signings – a lot of clubs get linked with players - but for us at this moment we want to get our season up and running. [Director of rugby] Kevin [Sinfield] takes a lot of that responsibility behind the scenes but we’re really happy with our squad. We just need it on the field.
“We need to look at our retention [for 2022] with how many are out of contract, though we do want to make one or two additions.”
Leeds are set to be still without around eight players this weekend, including captain Luke Gale, stand-off Rob Lui, loose-forward Cameron Smith, centre Harry Newman and full-back Jack Walker while Myler and Zane Tetevano are banned.
“I don’t think we’ve had a game where we haven’t had less than 10 players missing, so it goes without saying that it will impact us,” said Agar. “The fact we haven’t been able to field the same spine for any two games and makeshift players playing there, that’s bound to have some impact on the team and what we’re able to do with the ball.
“It’s also in training as well when we’re trying to execute some defensive stuff and have good plays thrown at us.
“I wouldn’t say we saw it coming; we knew we had couple of injuries around pre-season and that we could face a few testy months.
“But the injuries we’ve picked up, it’s made it even more challenging.”
Agar conceded Rhinos were “flat” against KR but he is expecting a response against Giants.
He said: “There’s been a different vibe to us this week.
“Overall, it was a tough review and we have to hold each other accountable because there was ordinary stuff in there.
“[But] our players copped it on the chin and they’re re-energised this week.”
n Featherstone Rovers have been drawn at home to Widnes Vikings in the semi-finals of the AB Sundecks 1895 Cup semi-finals as they seek to get to Wembley, York City Knights hosting Swinton Lions in the other semi-final with ties to be played on June 5/6.
The Betfred Women’s Challenge Cup draw sees Leeds host Bradford Bulls, York City Knights entertain Wigan Warriors, Castleford Tigers head to Warrington Wolves and Featherstone Rovers visit St Helens.