What next for Brad Dwyer at Leeds Rhinos?

Picture by John Clifton/SWpix.com - 15/05/2022 - Rugby League - Betfred Super League Round 12 - Salford Red Devils v Leeds Rhinos - AJ Bell Stadium, Salford, England - Leeds Rhinos' Brad Dwyer

It would be an understatement to say that Brad Dwyer joined Leeds during a tough spell. Gone are the golden days of back-to-back final appearances, and instead we enjoy the ups and downs of inconsistent seasons. Dwyer became a fan favourite during the 2019 home game against Castleford Tigers…

“They’re 40 metres out. Will they go for it? He does, he does, he does! He’s got it! What an amazing goal kick! Brad Dwyer!” Sky Sports Commentary.

From that point, Dwyer was a household name at Leeds. He was a regular feature on Leeds’ social media, the Dogcast episodes and cracking smiles on the training ground. Outside of Leeds, he is an ambassador for the Birthmark Support Group and is undergoing a house renovation. He is currently in his last season at Leeds, possibly the last time marching on together.

Dwyer the younger

Brad Dwyer made his debut into the Super League with Warrington scoring his first try a month after against Widnes. He has had spells with Swinton under dual registration and loan spells at Huddersfield Giants, London Broncos and Featherstone Rovers. He is an experienced player, having appeared in a number of finals, most notably Leeds’ victory over Salford in the 2020 Challenge Cup Final. Brad worked closely with Richard Agar during his time at Warrington and was a natural fit in Agar’s team at Headingley. He featured heavily for Leeds, reaching 100 games in March.

He is a spirited, energetic hooker who started this season with a bang. Not necessarily the bang he wanted, with a yellow card and a close loss to his former team.

Leeming vs Dwyer

Many fans raised an eyebrow when Kruise Leeming was made Rhinos captain at the start of the season. However, he soon showed us why he was picked. He adds organisation to the ranks, whilst he brings a number of great attributes to Leeds’ game, effective attacking kicks including 40/20’s, high defensive work rate, it is his organisational skills which have really come to the forefront in recent games. In comparison, Dwyer does not have as much organisational skill, however he does add a dynamic fire into a tired body side. So, which is better? Tries are mainly conceded during moments of poor organisation, Leeming wins here. Tries are made from clever attacking plays including kicks, again Leeming is the victor. That is not to say that Dwyer is a bad player or that he does not add to Leeds’ game, he does, through speed and a good type of chaos. But not in the same way or same calibre that Leeming does.

This is possibly why Rohan Smith has recently left Dwyer out of the games, and he didn’t start against Huddersfield even without Leeming available. Leeds’ focus at the moment is organisation, discipline and clever attack. We saw against Hull FC how good that attack can be with Leeming directing, a game that showcase what quality our players have.

Dwyer’s future?

If rumours are to be believed, Brad is on his way out of Leeds. But where is he likely to go? Jenna Brooks, Sky Sports reporter, broke the news that he was signing for Saints. This has not come to pass with Brad himself ruling the move out in the Yorkshire Evening Post (which may mean James Roby is staying for another season). It is more likely that he would go to a club like Salford. Their current hooker, Andy Ackers does bring a good defensive game, but plays more like a spare forward not a hooker. Salford lack a dynamic bench player, and Dwyer could easily fit into that role. Another club that could look to sign him is Castleford. Paul McShane, the 2020 Man of Steel, does not currently have a reliable deputy. Dwyer could fill that role. Castleford is closer to Leeds, Brad Dwyer seems to have been putting down roots here, so the move is logical. The last club that has been floating about in the rumour mill is Wigan. Dwyer is a Wigan lad, so a hometown move may suit him. However, it is unlikely given Wigan’s current hooker and bench, he would be rather superfluous.

What happens next?

So, what happens next for Dwyer? He has not ruled out staying at Leeds, the question then rises; do the Rhinos have the cap for him? If he does stay at Leeds, he will definitely need to work on his attacking threat and more importantly his organisational skills. Coming off the bench for Leeming, he will need to come to Leeming’s level in directing the squad which ultimately leads to game wins. If he does go, while a lot of fans will be sad, Leeds will cope. Youngster Corey Johnson committed another two years to the Rhinos, and with his past performances in the Rhinos and England academy sides, he looks likely to develop into a very dangerous and exciting player. Rohan Smith has certainly indicated that the bulk of the next season squad would likely be from youngsters. Brad Dwyer is 29, which in rugby terms is on the more experienced side, he simply may not fit in Smith’s idea of Leeds Rhinos.

So maybe his loss to another team would not be too bad. What would be interesting to see is how Leeds adapt to his style on an opposing team. When he is at his best, when bodies are tired on the pitch, he is dangerous.

Whatever happens, stay or go, Leeds Rhinos will always appreciate Brad Dwyer for his effort – especially that amazing 40-metre drop goal against Castleford and his contribution to the 2020 Challenge Cup success.

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