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Agar hoping to name completely different 17 for Wembley from mid-week clash

Leeds Rhinos head coach Richard Agar is hoping to be able to name a completely different starting 17 in this weekend’s Challenge Cup Final from the side that faces Warrington on Tuesday.

The Rhinos will rest the majority of their first-choice players against the Wolves in the aim of having everyone at 100% for Saturday’s Wembley showpiece against Salford.

A handful of senior squad members, including Jack Walker, Brad Dwyer and Adam Cuthbertson, could be asked to feature in both matches but Agar says he’s yet to completely decide who will make the cut on the big day.

“We’re waiting for the Covid (results),” he said. “But we’re going to get all our information in first before we start naming teams and obviously disappointing people or giving people the good news.

“We should get it in late tonight (Monday) and if we don’t let our guys know tonight we’ll certainly let them know tomorrow.

“Then we’ve got a game Tuesday and it’s just a case of if we have to back anybody up.

The Challenge Cup Final would be just teenage forward Tom Holroyd’s 12th game for the Rhinos. Credit: Mark Cosgrove/News Images

“We’re hoping that, at the maximum, that would only be one spot, but potentially we might not have to do that at all, so fingers crossed.”

Several Rhinos players, should they be selected, will be making their first ever appearance in a major final on Saturday.

The likes of Tom Holroyd, Mikolaj Oledzki, Cameron Smith and even experienced halfback Rob Lui are all in that position but Agar insists the key will be to keep the over-excitement to a minimum and focus on the task at hand.

He added: “The fact there is no crowd means it’s all business for us this week. In some parts of the build-up while it is a shame, it’s going to help us a little bit.

“We’re playing a very experienced squad. A lot of guys who have played in big games, whether that be internationals, Grand Finals, Challenge Cups, the NRL, I think that is underestimated about Salford.

“They have got a lot of experience in their team and a lot of knowhow.

“So for us, we’re going to be relying on some of our more experienced guys to set the tone but at the same time, I don’t think from a motivational point of view that we need to play too many emotional cards this week.

“Where our young guys are concerned, it’s about having a steady week, knowing 100% what their jobs and roles are, and making sure they’re in the right frame of mind to go and execute that.

“Because I think if you do build up too much of the emotion, push too many emotional buttons, that can certainly lead to a loss of focus and can spill over into errors in the game as well.

“So keeping that right balance for us is important.”

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