Leeds Rhinos v Leigh Centurions: Respect due from Rhinos against Super League strugglers

Although Leigh have not won against Leeds for almost a quarter of a century and are rooted to the bottom of Super League, Leeds Rhinos chief Richard Agar insists there will be no complacency from his side this evening.

The main reason for that is because the West Yorkshire club have plenty of their own issues to contend with. Granted, Rhinos are expected to secure a third straight victory but they are bereft of players once more, whether it be through suspension – captain Luke Gale plus forwards Alex Mellor and Bodene Thompson were all banned following Sunday’s feisty win at Salford Red Devils – or injury.

Leigh have lost all 12 of their Super League games this term and not defeated Leeds since 1988 and the days of the Stones Bitter Championship.

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It would be easy to think, then, tonight’s visit from them would still constitute a simple two points and merely be a case of getting the right attitude.

But, with his side potentially missing a dozen players, Agar insisted: “I don’t think it [attitude] will be an issue for us because of the challenges we’re facing and the need to step up to the plate.

“We’ve got a lot of inexperience playing, players playing out of position again and we’ve players playing on heavy workloads.

“We don’t need to put the fear factor up our guys that Leigh will be a challenge. We know that.

“But we have a really positive bunch of guys and the games where we have had to do this (under-strength – against some of the top sides in the competition – we’ve gone down swinging.

Leeds Rhinos' Robert Lui could be back in action against Leigh Centurions. Picture by Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com
Leeds Rhinos' Robert Lui could be back in action against Leigh Centurions. Picture by Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com

“On the back of two wins, the challenge is to get that same effort and intensity but a performance good enough to get two points.

“We are capable of that but we’re not dismissing a team that’s not had a win. Leigh will see this as a great opportunity. It’s an interesting game.”

Mellor had his appeal against a one-game ban for making contact with a match official upheld so misses out.

Agar retorted: “I’m not sure if it’d knocked the dandruff off his collar. But they are applying the laws. We had a really fair hearing with the judge and two ex-Leigh players on the panel.”

Picture by Phil Daly/Leeds Rhinos/SWpix.com head coach Richard Agar, left, and assistant Jamie Jones-Buchanan. Leeds Rhinos'

Leeds have fit-again half-backs Robert Lui and Callum McLelland available to play their first games of 2021 while centre Levi Edwards, 17, could debut and Liam Tindall, 19, could also play.