Wakefield Trinity v Leeds Rhinos: Coach Richard Agar says 'we aren't too jittery yet' as visitors aim to grab first Super League win

Getting three first-choice players back will be a “massive boost” for Leeds Rhinos when they travel to Wakefield Trinity tonight (Thursday)

By Peter Smith
Thursday, 3rd March 2022, 4:45 am

And coach Richard Agar insists his team are holding their nerve, despite heading into Betfred Super League round four without a win to their name.

An improved attacking performance is the priority this evening, but Agar says he saw some positive signs in the loss to Catalans Dragons six days ago and stressed: “I don’t think there’s a lack of belief or desire within the squad. We are not too jittery just yet. We aren’t trying to gloss over it; we understand it has been a bumpy start but ,at the same time, we can see some good things and it’s up to us to improve the stuff we are not doing as well.”

Centre Harry Newman could make his first appearance of the season this evening and winger David Fusitu’a and second-row Rhyse Martin are in contention after a two-game lay-off. Agar said: “It was a week too soon for Harry last week. We needed to get a little bit more high-speed running into him.

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Rhinos coach Richard Agar. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com.

“His hamstring was healed but to throw him back in without any serious training was a risk.

“Fusitu’a, coming back after a head knock, just wasn’t quite right last week. They have brought a great energy to training and, it goes without saying, some quality.”

Martin has missed the past two games following the sudden death of his father.

He flew home to Australia, but arrived back last weekend and Agar said: “He is good. It was important Rhyse got our support and we will get that paid back to us in spades from him. For his own peace of mind and his family, he had to get off and do what he needed to do.

Harry Newman is back in contention afrter a hamstring injury. Picture by Steve Riding.

“He made it as brief a trip as he could so he could get back and help us out this week.

“It [having Newman, Fusitu’a and Martin in the squad] is a massive boost, because they are quality players.”

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“I think it’s important for us, as coaches, that this is a time when we lead and show some resilience and I think we’ve got that back from the guys too.

David Fusitu'a was concussed agianst Warrington in round one, but could return tonight. Picture by Tony Johnson.

“After Wigan, there were areas of the game we really fixed up last week against Catalans.

“It goes without saying our attack wasn’t good enough. I described it after the game as painful at times and I probably stand by that but, two or three weeks ago, in really tough conditions, we showed a much better energy and appetite to move the ball and play what’s in front of us.

“It’s in there. I know a couple of guys have felt down on form but those are the challenges we face and that’s my challenge as a coach, to accept responsibility for this and make sure we can put it right and get out there what we know is potentially a really good attacking team.”

The spotlight will be on Rhinos’ finishing and Agar conceded: “Last week we bombed some chances and took some poor options.

“The reality is, you’re probably not going to get every one right, but nor do I expect us to get every one wrong and I think that was the case last week.

“That rests with me, my responsibility is to get these guys back to where we were three or four weeks ago when we were getting really excited and confident about what we were seeing and to get us back on the horse.”

Wakefield have also lost their first three matches and Agar - a former Trinity coach - admitted both teams will be “absolutely desperate to get off the mark”.

He said: “I have seen some really good signs out of them.

“They are prepared to chance their arm, off-load and kick early.

“Tom Johnstone is in terrific form, Jacob Miller is pivotal for them and David Fifita is a real handful.

“I like what [coach] Willie Poching has done there; they’ve not got off the mark yet but have competed really hard in every game.”

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