Richard Agar had a lot to be pleased about after today’s pre-season friendly against Featherstone Rovers.
Not only did Leeds win 30-22, but Agar gave game time to 25 players testing out a near full strength side in the first 40 who took an 18-6 lead into the break before the Rhinos youngsters shone in a competitive second half.
Tom Briscoe, Harry Newman, Liam Tindall, Sam Walters and Alex Mellor crossed for the tries with Rhyse Martin and Jack Sinfield notching the conversions.
On the performance, Agar noted how much his side got out of the contest: “It was a tale of two halves in the way we approached the game, we planned on that.
“I thought going up hill on a difficult surface was always going to test us in the first half against an organised and enthusiastic team.
“We purposefully went in not wanting to make any interchanges. We wanted to get our middles right to the end and playing under fatigue, with not too much danger of injury.
“I thought we got a terrific and tough workout.”
He also noted the pride he felt for the young lads who did themselves proud this afternoon: “I thought the young lads started well. They got put under the pump in the last 10 minutes. Scoreboards aren’t important but they’re really competitive people so when it gets right to the end and being under pressure was a great learning curve.”
Ash Handley, who skippered Leeds in their last friendly against Wakefield, and new signing James Bentley didn’t feature with Agar revealing they weren’t included as “precautions.”
“Pretty much everyone [not involved] is precautions, Donaldson is suspended,” Agar said, “There’s no real injury concerns. As you get at this stage of the year you take precautions if anything is a bit tight or a bit sore.”
He also gave an injury update on two players who picked up problems in the contest. It is key for the Rhinos to avoid injuries after such an injury hit campaign in 2021: “So far so good, clean bill of health. Tom Holroyd is the only one who’s gone down today, he’s rolled his ankle and Cameron Smith has a pretty nasty bump which has blown up immediately. The doctor is confident it’s not broken.”
It is believed by many that if Leeds avoid injuries in 2022 they could really compete at the top of the table and end a five year wait for Grand Final glory.