Leeds Rhinos v London Broncos: New Headingley deal not the priority for Brad Dwyer

ONE OF the few positives Leeds Rhinos can take from their dismal season so far is the wonderful form of Brad Dwyer.

Brad Dwyer.

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Desperate Leeds Rhinos in need of rapid response in order to survive in Super Le...

While they have spluttered and stumbled as a collective, the dynamic hooker has been a shining light with his coruscating runs and regular attacking threat from dummy-half.

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It is typical, though, of Leeds’s current state – they are joint-bottom ahead of tomorrow’s vital Magic Weekend contest with London Broncos – that even that light may soon fade out.

Dwyer is out of contract at the end of the season and attracting plenty of interest from rivals clubs with Salford Red Devils, in particular, keen to tempt him away from Emerald Headingley.

If Leeds are relegated to the Championship that will not be too difficult a task at all.

All of which underlines once more the importance of the 80 minutes ahead against London who will pull off bottom if they prosper at Anfield tomorrow afternoon.

It seems incredulous to think demotion is even a possibility for Rhinos who were reigning Super League champions when Dwyer joined from Warrington Wolves barely 18 months ago.

However, this is the state in which they find themselves and positive results are urgently required or others will be considering their options, too.

Dwyer, 26, said: “Nothing’s sorted at the moment. Obviously at the minute, the situation we are in, I’ve got other things on my mind than contracts. It is just about performance and that’s what I am trying to focus on.”

Leeds have won just one of their last five games in all competitions, the shock Challenge Cup loss at Championship Bradford Bulls their nadir, so far at least.

Highly-respected Australian head coach Dave Furner was sacked just 14 games into his reign and interim head coach Richard Agar takes charge for the third time tomorrow, yet awaiting a first win.

Looking at the table, Dwyer conceded: “That is a bit of a reality check of where we actually are.

“We have been good at some points in the season, but I think where we sit is probably where we deserve to sit.

“It is a massive week for us; it doesn’t matter about performances or what we do – we need to get this win.”

Dwyer will be central to their chances; he has really made his mark this season, replacing Australian Matt Parcell as the starting No 9, having struggled to even make the matchday squad under Brian McDermott at times last term.

He has missed just two games so far and, despite their travails, insisted: “I am happy at Leeds.

“Obviously we’re not in the best situation at the moment, but I feel like I have come on loads.

“I think the club is going the right way with Kev (Sinfield, director of rugby) heading everything up. There’s quite a bit going on at the moment, but I love living in Leeds and I love the club itself.

“I really feel at home here so I would be more than happy signing at Leeds. Obviously there’s more to it than that and that will come out in the future and we’ll see where we end up.”

One highlight was Dwyer’s unlikely long-range drop-goal to secure a Golden Point extra-time win over Castleford Tigers at Headingley in March which, briefly, eased pressure on Furner.

However, by that point, Rhinos had already lost with a shambolic late collapse at home to London, who have been favourites for relegation ever since winning promotion via the Million Pound Game against Toronto Wolfpack last October. Danny Ward’s side then went on an eight-game losing run but that was ended when they defeated Wakefield Trinity for a second time this term last Sunday.

They will arrive in Liverpool re-energised, especially seeing how vulnerable Leeds are, and Dwyer – who spent time on loan with Broncos in 2015 – is more than aware of their latent threat.

“I spent quite a bit of time with quite a few of the lads at London when I was there and they just play for each other,” he said.

“They know what they are and they turn up each week and rip in. Some weeks that’s not going to be good enough, but some weeks they’ve had some good results.

“They play rugby, they have nothing to lose and they have a dig for each other so they are a very dangerous team. I imagine the occasion, being Magic Weekend and playing against us, will get them right up for it. We are expecting the best of them.”

Leeds include Jack Walker after a hamstring injury. He replaces Tui Lolohea (ankle) while Alex Sutcliffe features in the 19-man squad for the first time this term.

For London, Matty Fozard and Olsi Krasniqi replace Eloi Pelissier – who is injured – and Mark Ioane in their 19-man squad.