What's on Leeds Rhinos head coach Richard Agar's agenda this week?
A NINE-TRY hammering of Hull KR gave Leeds Rhinos’ players and fans something to smile about, but what will be on coach Richard Agar’s agenda this week?
1 Keeping feet on the ground: The situation is a little like after Betfred Super League round one, but in reverse.
Just as Rhinos couldn’t afford to get too down about their heavy defeat by Hull, Agar won’t let them get carried away with one positive result. It was a big improvement all round, but Hull KR are a team expected to struggle this year and far tougher challenges lie ahead.
2 Consistency: Remarkably, Rhinos have not won more than two successive Super League games since 2017.
Since Agar took charge last May they have managed to win back-to-back matches three times, but not built on that. If Leeds are going to be competing in or around the top-five this year they need to turn one win into a run of them. Salford and Warrington are the next two up and if Leeds can win both of those it will be a sign of intent.
3 The right-side: Rhyse Martin’s absence led to a reshuffle which saw Liam Sutcliffe move into the pack, Harry Newman to the right-centre and Luke Briscoe come in on the wing.
Briscoe had a stormer, particularly early on, setting up two tries for Newman, who was the official man of the match.
Second-rows Stevie Ward and Martin should be available this weekend, so does Agar revert to the pre-season and round one set-up, or leave things as they were on Friday?
Sutcliffe has done nothing wrong, but it would be tough to drop Briscoe – or any of the bench players – and Ward and Martin will be automatic picks when fit.
4 Reining in attacking instincts: Rhinos were in control for virtually the whole game against Hull KR, but there was a loose spell when they had gone 20-0 up.
That’s not the worst problem to have, but Agar will be keen for his side not to go away from what is working when they get into a lead.
5 Maintaining impressive away form: Rhinos have played only five away Super League games under Agar - and won four of them, including their last three.
The only defeat was at St Helens.