Leeds Rhinos in safe hands in play-offs with Sean Long, says Richard Agar

New Leeds Rhinos coach Sean Long. Picture: Phil Daly/Leeds Rhinos/SWpix.comNew Leeds Rhinos coach Sean Long. Picture: Phil Daly/Leeds Rhinos/SWpix.com
New Leeds Rhinos coach Sean Long. Picture: Phil Daly/Leeds Rhinos/SWpix.com
FORMER Grand Final winner Sean Long’s play-offs expertise will add impetus to Leeds Rhinos’ title challenge, their coach Richard Agar reckons.

Long spent time with Rhinos at the start of the year and was due to begin work as one of Agar’s assistants next season, following incumbent James Webster’s return to his full-time role as coach of Championship promotion hopefuls Featherstone Rovers.

But the former St Helens and Great Britain scrum-half was drafted in early after a staff member tested positive for coronavirus, requiring Agar and another member of the backroom team, Jamie Jones-Buchanan, to self-isolate.

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Webster and Long have taken control of training this week and will be in charge at the ground when Leeds face Catalans Dragons in an elimination tie at Warrington on Friday.

Agar believes Rhinos’ attack will thrive under Long’s guidance, having “got off track a bit” during their schedule of six games in 20 days.

He said: “We feel because of the situation of not training properly, not reviewing as we normally would, not being able to fix anything up, it has been a difficult period for our attack.

“We felt we needed to invest a bit and get it back on track again.

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“I think with Sean coming in to do a bit of work with our half-backs and get us investing in ourselves a bit and get us back to doing what we do well, the timing of it has been brilliant.

“He is a much-decorated player and a tremendous big-game player and his input this week has given us a boost.

“He is buzzing to be here and we are buzzing to have him here. I have worked in the game a long time and with some of what I would consider the best brains in rugby league and Sean’s rugby knowledge and detail about the sport is quite phenomenal.”

Agar will be back at work next week, if Rhinos win on Friday, but has been supervising operations from home.

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He will watch Sky Sports’ live coverage of Friday’s tie and be in constant telephone contact with coaching staff at the ground.

“It is frustrating, but I have no real dramas,” he said of his enforced exile. “I am really confident we are in good hands.”

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