Richard Agar cited “a complete lack of intensity and application” as the main reason behind Leeds’ humbling 31-8 loss to Hull FC tonight.
The Rhinos coach, who was brought in to dig Leeds out a similar situation to the one they now find themselves in back in 2019, did state that he takes “full responsibility” for the performance and getting the best out of a club who’s ambitions far exceed what the opening five rounds would suggest in terms of performance.
Tonight was Leeds’ fourth defeat in five games and has the play-offs slowly drifting out of Leeds’ grasp having originally been seen as a title contender going into 2022.
After the game, Agar felt one moment embodied the performance as a whole.
“Their first try typified where we were defensively and I just don’t think that’s a technical thing,” Agar said, “That’s turn up, attitude and application. I thought the simplicity of running harder and tackling harder and being able to control rucks and not throwing away possession like we did.
“We got smashed in possession. I don’t think we had any intent.”
He also expressed how surprised he was by the defeat.
The Rhinos had easily beaten Wakefield last time out taking a 30-0 lead in the first half but allowed that momentum to slip away with a defeat tonight.
On this Agar said: “I didn’t see this in preparation this week. We’ve had a good week, felt confident after last week, sharp in training, good intensity to everything, but the signs were there from the first couple of sets defensively.
“We just did not go in with anywhere near enough intent to get control of the game.
“It’s one I’m really struggling to get my head round why we had such a lack of desire.”
He did go onto note that some individuals impressed him but that ultimately the club should be in a stronger position than they currently are given the talent in their squad: “There were plenty of individuals in there who didn’t throw the towel in but that’s not good enough. To start finding positives like that for a team who, yeah we’ve got some players out but Hull have more than us and were on a shorter turn around than us, to start looking for positives on individual performances tells you where we were tonight and where we’ve been too many times this season.
“It’s not good enough for a club with the talent we’ve got inside it and I take full responsibility for that to make sure I can get the best out of it. I’m coming off at half time thinking ‘this has blown me away how poor this is.'”
After this the former Hull FC boss said he believes that he can turn things around having been in worse situations throughout his career. After all, Leeds were in a similar predicament at the start of last season and still made the play-offs.
That said, Agar also said that he would not continue “to flog a dead horse” at this stage of his career perhaps hinting that if he feels he’s no longer the man to get the most out of the squad he will step aside. However, this is simply speculation.