Written by Zack Wilson
Photo by Leeds Rhinos
Leeds Rhinos’ 10-0 win over Wakefield Trinity last Friday evening was far from being a classic performance.
But it marked the first time in 2019 that Richard Agar’s team had won back-to-back games, and was also the first time that Leeds have kept a clean sheet away from home since 2009.
The game was a strange one, in which Leeds seemed to create few real chances to score.
The chances that did come their way, though, they took, notably the interception try scored by Tui Lolohea.
Crucially, the Rhinos also showed the steel and resilience needed to defend properly for 80 minutes, probably for the first time this season.
Coach Richard Agar was pleased with that defensive effort and resilience, but was still cautious about getting too optimistic too soon.
“We’ve got to put it in perspective,” said Agar, talking to reporters after the game.
“We’ve probably dodged a couple of bullets.
“But, to focus on the positives, I’m really proud of the effort. The commitment to each other defensively, especially at times when we got broken, was superb.
“The accountability and discipline were great.
“We always thought it was going to be a close game.
“I still think we’ve got a long way to go. The anxiety of that last 10 or 15 minutes crept in but not to the same extent.
“There were still some anxious moments in there. We didn’t get some great kicks away at times.”
It would be wise for the Rhinos to avoid getting too carried away. Wakefield were a long way from being at full strength on Friday.
Leeds welcome old rivals Wigan Warriors, another team enduring a difficult season, to Headingley on Friday evening, which should be an interesting game.
If they can win that then things will start to look up, and they will have generated some real momentum.
A defeat, though, and things could start to look anxious again, especially as the Rhinos have to travel to St Helens a week on Friday.
But Richard Agar seems to have instilled something of the old Leeds will to win back in a team which was desperately short of confidence.
If the likes of Brad Dwyer and Jack Walker, both of whom recently inked new extensions to contracts at the club, can continue to develop and the marquee players do their jobs properly, this season might not be so bad after all.
Things still hang in the balance, though. This week’s game against Wigan could be crucial.