Leeds Rhinos 18 Catalans Dragons 26: Richard Agar praises leaders after Headingley defeat

LEEDS RHINOS coach Richard Agar had mixed feelings after his side’s winning run came to an end last night.

Leeds Rhinos' Liam Sutcliffe is tackled by Catalans' Dean Whare.  Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe
Leeds Rhinos' Liam Sutcliffe is tackled by Catalans' Dean Whare. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe

Agar was pleased with his side’s first-half effort against Betfred Super League leaders Catalans Dragons and felt they should have been further than 18-8 in front at the break.

But Leeds failed to score in the second period and Agar admitted his team were “running on empty” at the end of their fourth game in 13 days.

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“I thought it was a mixed bag for us,” he said. “We had tons of energy in the first half and we were creating and breaking the line. We had a couple of chances to score, one we definitely should have taken and that would’ve taken the game right into the balance.

“We caused them some real problems and probably should have come in at least one score further up, but in the second half I’d applaud the opposition.

“We can look to our schedule and our workload, but they [Catalans] were very methodical and when they had a couple of chances they executed really well. There were a couple of really poor elements to what we were doing, but we didn’t have the energy or field position to change the momentum of the game and get ourselves back in it.”

Catalans began to grow into the game and, after Bodene Thompson was penalised by referee James Child for a shove, James Maloney kicked the two points to put them ahead.

The Dragons then claimed the opening try through Arthur Mourgue in the 10th minute.

In the 15th minute, Leeds hit back when, after Joel Tomkins conceded a penalty, the hosts advanced upfield and Luke Gale’s kick to the right corner saw Luke Briscoe and Fouad Yaha challenge for the ball in the air.

As it dropped backwards, Rhyse Martin was on hand to touch down for a try which he converted to cut the lead to two points.

Leeds grew in confidence and scored their second try in the 23rd minute when Brad Dwyer’s neat pass sent Thompson crashing over the line.

Both teams had chances to score further tries before the break and Catalans prop Sam Kasiano was sin-binned for a high shot on Luke Briscoe.

Leeds did manage to score a third try via Liam Sutcliffe and Martin’s third goal made it 18-8 at the break.

But Catalans were outstanding in the second half as Maloney’s pass sent Matt Whitley over. Mourgue added the extras to make it 18-14 before a brilliant break from Maloney saw him ghost through the Rhinos’ defence and usher Mike McMeeken over the line.

That made it 18-18 and Mourgue converted to put his side ahead before Catalans grabbed a fourth try in the 67th minute when Yaha went over.

Leeds: Myler, L. Briscoe, Hurrell, L. Sutcliffe, T. Briscoe, Leeming, Gale, Prior, Dwyer, Holroyd, Mellor, Martin, Thompson. Substitutes: O’Connor, Vuniyayawa, Donaldson, Smith.

Catalans Dragons: S. Tomkins, Davies, Langi, Whare, Yaha, Maloney, Mourgue, Bousquet, Garcia, J. Tomkins, Whitley, McMeeken, Goudemand. Substitutes: Seguier, Da Costa, Baitieri, Kasiano.

Referee: James Child (RFL).