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“Painful to watch” – Richard Agar explains what went wrong as Leeds Rhinos lost to Catalans Dragons

After three games, Leeds now have three defeats with a 10-4 defeat to Catalans ensuring the Rhinos will have to continue to wait for a first win of 2022.

For the third time in those three games, Leeds did hold the lead around the end of the first quarter thanks to a Blake Austin try but the Rhinos squandered a number of chances despite having possession and territory for much of the game.

Ultimately it was in this area that Head Coach Richard Agar felt that the Rhinos slipped up.

When addressing the defeat, the Rhinos boss said: “I think one of the reasons we didn’t win was we bombed a load of chances. I simply felt, especially when they were down to 12 men, we had a pension of hitting lead runner nine times out of ten.

“I think when we look back at the tape I think we’ll see a lot of chances and a lot of space that we never got to and never executed.

“I thought we were committed to be really good in some areas. I thought our kick chase was really good, got numbers in the tackle, controlled it really well but our ability to execute was so far off the mark we’ll look at the tape and see a lot of chances and a lot of space that we could’ve got to and we didn’t through poor execution, bits of skill being off and some poor decisions.

“One thing we’re keen to press on the players is the Leeds DNA, playing a style which has been synonymous with the club and we come away tonight thinking we’ve got to work really hard on this. We sat back too much, we didn’t create enough push and support and there were times with the ball where it was really painful to watch.”

In explaining this, Agar did look to the new combinations he’s trying to build at the club. The Rhinos have two new halfbacks in Blake Austin and Aidan Sezer whilst Jack Walker has only just returned after over a year on the side lines being thrown in at the deep end following Richie Myler’s injury.

“We’ve got to work on our combinations,” Agar said, “We’ve got two new halfbacks in there, a new fullback in there. I know he’s been at the club for a while but he’s not played fullback for two years. I think Richie Myler has been such a pivotal player in our good ball attack that we need to make some little adaptations and get back to playing with a bit more speed and a bit more push and support.”

There were one or two controversial moments in the game which could be said to have gone against Leeds including a knock on in the build up to the match winning try from Joe Chan. Replays suggested that Liam Tindall might have been pushed into the ball.

On this Agar said: “I thought he shoved him, but we aren’t looking at that. We’re more looking at the opportunities we had.”

Unfortunately for the Rhinos the night was overshadowed by an early injury to Alex Mellor. The second-rower was sadly stretchered off due to a neck injury and Richard Agar gave an update on his condition: “He got his head in a bad spot in a tackle, we’ve sent him to hospital as a precaution. It’s around his neck, he felt it straight away so they’ve carted him off to hospital and we’ve had no feedback yet but the words put to me was that it was precautionary.

“So fingers crossed, we’ve not heard from him yet.”

Since these comments from Agar, news has come in that Mellor has been given the all clear.

There was a long period between the injury and when the game was stopped to allow him to be stretchered off, on this Agar simply stated: “We were prepared to get the green card if you like because it seemed he was going to take a while to stop it but these are the rules.

“I’d hate to think that there was any moment that our side line was compromised in getting people on there because of a rule, we would never do that to our players.”

There is more positive news now regarding injuries for Leeds however with Agar stating that David Fusitu’a and Harry Newman “should be back next week” with Rhyse Martin also expected to return from compassionate leave.

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