New boss Brad Arthur is 'added incentive' for Leeds Rhinos at Warrington Wolves says Chev Walker

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New coach Brad Arthur can make an instant impact on Leeds Rhinos at Warrington Wolves tonight (Thursday), his assistant Chev Walker reckons.

The former Parramatta Eels boss has been appointed until the end of this season and is expected to arrive in England in time to attend the Betfred Super League round 17 clash at HJ Stadium. Walker will be in charge of the team, along with fellow assistant-coach Scott Grix, but insisted: “He [Arthur] will have some input, just being there - the players are going to be playing for him the week after.”

Walker also expects a reaction following a poor team performance in last Saturday’s 17-16 extra-time win over the competition’s bottom club London Broncos. “Any bloke who has got pride about himself would want to rectify it whether Brad came in or not,” he stated.

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Surprise Leeds Rhinos revelation as Brad Arthur appointment confirmed but coach ...
Leeds Rhinos acting-coach Chev Walker. Picture by Jonathan Gawthorpe.Leeds Rhinos acting-coach Chev Walker. Picture by Jonathan Gawthorpe.
Leeds Rhinos acting-coach Chev Walker. Picture by Jonathan Gawthorpe.

“It [Arthur’s appointment] is just an added incentive for the players to put their best foot forward. That’s all Grixy and I have tried to touch on for the last few weeks - let’s be in a good spot for when somebody else comes in and make sure we’ve got a feelgood factor around the place.”

Rhinos have won both their games under the carertaker duo following Rohan Smith’s departure last month. Arthur spent 10 seasons in charge of NRL giants Parramatta Eels and Walker insisted: “It is a good opportunity for us all to learn.

“Any opportunity I get as a young coach to spend time with an experienced coach is always going to be good. I’ll be fully committed to supporting him and making him feel welcome at this club. I want what’s best for the club and that is to support whoever is leading the way.”

Warrington are third in the table, four points clear of seventh-placed Leeds and won 34-8 at AMT Headingley three months ago. Rhinos will need a massive improvement from last week’s error-strewn performance just to compete and Walker warned: “They have been playing well, they are a top-four team and that’s a challenge in itself.

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Paul Momirovski had this touchdown controversially disallowed when Leeds Rhinos were beaten by Warrington Wolves at Headingley in April. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.Paul Momirovski had this touchdown controversially disallowed when Leeds Rhinos were beaten by Warrington Wolves at Headingley in April. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.
Paul Momirovski had this touchdown controversially disallowed when Leeds Rhinos were beaten by Warrington Wolves at Headingley in April. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.

“We just have to be disciplined and hold on to the ball. Our biggest challenge is performing to the best of our abilities, not worrying about what happened last week. As a player I was always able to move on the week after because I got an opportunity to put right what I didn’t quite get right the week before.

“That has been my message to the players - that you draw a line under last week. You can’t forget about it, but you got two points and this is an opportunity to get two more.”

Leeds have been inconsistent all year and last week’s below-par effort followed an impressive 18-10 win over Leigh Leopards, in Rhinos’ emotional first home game since the death of club legend Rob Burrow. Walker said that was a lesson learned.

“The Leigh experience was almost like a Grand Final and I have stressed to the players you have to find a performance regardless of whether it’s a big occasion or not,” he stated. “Every game counts. If they are only going to play because they are thriving off the environment or the occasion, it is not always going to be like that. We need to find ways to make the crowd get behind us - that’s by performing well and performing strong.”

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