Time will tell if Leeds Rhinos have turned corner following record win at Castleford Tigers warns Richard Agar

It is too early to say if Leeds Rhinos have finally got their season on track, coach Richard Agar says.

By Peter Smith
Monday, 31st May 2021, 4:45 am

Before Friday’s 60-6 win at Castleford Tigers, Rhinos had managed only 90 points in seven Betfred Super League matches this year and scored more than two tries just once, in the round one victory over Wakefield Trinity.

Rhinos third win of the campaign - in their ninth competitive game - saw them run in 11 touchdowns, including six in the first half and four during the last 15 minutes.

It was Rhinos’ biggest away win in the league since a 68-0 thrashing of Celtic Crusaders in Newport 12 years ago.

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Rhinos players thank their fans after the win at Castleford. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.

The huge victory eased some of the pressure on Leeds at the foot of the table and kept them in touch with the top-six, but Agar admitted “time will tell” if it was a turning point in their season.

Rhinos’ next game is at home to champions St Helens on Friday, June 11 and Agar said: “It is hard when you’re losing and pressure starts to build, but I’ve said every week, I don’t feel like I am coaching a team that is worried about where its next win is coming from.”

He admitted: “We’ve got some things wrong and lost some close games, but we have had a lot of disruption and a lot of sides would struggle to cope and wouldn’t cope as well as we actually have done.

“We have still got some very, very good players to come back into this team.

“We have lost a couple of close games we probably could have won, but we understand the reasons and hopefully now getting back to our style and getting a feel for that will give us confidence moving forward.”

Agar insisted: “There’s been no lack of effort all year, we have had some lack of execution.

“The comp is very tight and we know we are going to have some challenges over the next month.”

The full-back/scrum-half partnership between Richie Myler and Luke Gale was at the heart of Rhinos’ improved attacking effort.

“It was only the fourth time they’ve played together all season,” Agar pointed out.

“When we looked back on the tape from the Hull game we thought we could encourage a bit more ball movement than we had.

“We thought we had got a bit rattled when we had a lot of possession in the second half, but they have got a good relationship on the field and that showed.

“Richie was outstanding, defensively and on attack. I thought he organised and marshalled our line and took the high kicks.

“I thought Luke did a really good job when he found Richie, which he didn’t quite last week and I thought Richie executed on the edge a couple of times.

“I was really happy with those two guys.”

After being left out against Hull, Jack Broadbent was recalled to the side on the left-wing, though he was named at centre - a position Tom Briscoe actually filled.

It was Broadbent’s third role this year, after full-back and centre and the 20-year-old featured at stand-off last year. Explaining the switch, Agar said: “Jack’s natural position is centre, but we think he covers wing really well too.

“We felt Tommy has defended really well in the centre and a couple of times, after he has got some early ball, he has managed to beat people.

“We felt, given the way we expected the shots to be coming from Castleford, Tommy would be a better two-in defender than Jack would.

“We thought he might have to come and jam in defence, which is a strength of Tommy’s, he has been really strong in his contact. We were going to swap them around in attack, but - minus the first couple of minutes - we started so well and Jack was doing a great job as a winger, so we left it.”

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