Leeds Rhinos v Salford Red Devils: Headingley coach Richard Agar calls for disciplined performance in Super League rematch
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Two red cards and three yellows were shown when Rhinos won 38-12 at Salford four weeks ago.
Leeds’ Bodene Thompson was sent-off for punching, along with Salford captain Lee Mossop; Rhinos skipper Luke Gale and Red Devils’ Ryan Lannon were sin-binned for a similar offence in a separate incident and the hosts’ Jack Wells spent 10 minutes off the field following a dangerous tackle.
Thompson is suspended this evening, from an incident in Rhinos’ previous home game, against Catalans Dragons, but Gale and the Salford trio are all set to feature, with Mossop and Wells both returning from the ban they received after last month’s clash.
Rhinos were heavily penalised by tonight’s referee Ben Thaler during their defeat at Catalans Dragons last Friday and he sent-off Zane Tetevano in a Challenge Cup tie against St Helens at the start of the campaign.
Agar stressed: “Discipline is something we have talked about.
“We gave 11 penalties away last week, a number of them for high shots.
“Last week we lacked some composure and discipline and we just stopped doing some things together.
“It is important our discipline is on the mark, the number of penalties comes down, we are working together and we are a bit more disciplined with the ball as well.
“We are making too many silly errors at the moment from an energy perspective.”
Agar insisted he isn’t expecting any lingering bad feeling from the previous clash.
“I think we learned our lessons there,” he said.
“We had guys suspended that really hurt our team, because of that game.
“There were some head knocks as well from that and we simply can’t do that.
“That’s a big focus and area of improvement for us this week, regardless of who we are playing.
“But we haven’t talked about coming up against Salford because of what happened last time.
“That hasn’t been part of our planning, it’s more about getting our own heads right.”
The loss to Leeds was Salford’s only defeat in their past four games.
After a layoff because of coronavirus, they bounced back with a 70-18 thrashing of Castleford Tigers and then rallied from 12-0 down to beat Wakefield Trinity 24-14 a week ago.
Rhinos have lost to Salford only five times in 49 Super League meetings, but Agar warned: “You’d expect two wins to give them a shot in the arm confidence-wise, for a team who had been struggling a bit.
“They played a Castleford side who were missing plenty of players and had a good, solid win last time out against Wakefield.
“They have got a couple of players coming back - Dan Sarginson is a very good player for them and they’ve got a new half-back coming in so there’s an element of unknown if [Ata] Hingano plays.
“There are some guys in our team who have played with him, so we’ve had some feedback.
“Will they keep the same lineup on the back of two good wins or make changes?
“We don’t know, so the bulk of our preparation really is looking at Salford’s style and taking care of some of their individuals, but discipline is very important for us and cutting out some penalties and we feel if we do that, we will get enough stability in our defensive line.
“We need to get a good performance out there and it would be wonderful to do it for our fans.”
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