Wembley final is just reward for Leeds Rhinos says Richard Agar
TOMORROW’S WEMBLEY final is a reward for everyone who has stuck with Leeds Rhinos through some dark times, coach Richard Agar says.
Since they last won the Coral Challenge Cup, five years ago, Rhinos have lifted the Grand Final trophy for an eighth time, but also battled through three relegation dogfights. Agar’s first game as coach, in May, 2019, was a painful Cup exit at lower-division neighbours Bradford Bulls and Leeds did not secure top-flight survival until three games from the end of their Betfred Super League campaign.
Wembley seemed a long way away at that stage, but Agar feels tomorrow’s showpiece – against Salford Red Devils – and their position of fifth in the league table is evidence the team is now “pointing in the right direction”.
“We have been able to turn a corner and find ourselves close to the top-four and in a Challenge Cup final so I am pleased for the people internally here,” Agar said.
Rhinos’ squad has been overhauled and a crop of talented youngsters have begun to emerge from their youth system.
“I am excited for our boys, on many different levels,” Agar added. “We have got some young players in there who are in an occasion like this for the first time and some right at the other end of the scale.
“Luke Gale is 32 and it’s his first Challenge Cup final and you’d throw Rob Lui into that too.
“The Australian guys get to experience something that doesn’t happen in the NRL, so it is exciting for all those reasons – and also the fact we are off two very tough years.”