Agar proclaims his faith in Rhinos’ youngsters

Richard Agar has hinted he will opt to give Leeds’ youngsters more playing opportunities next season, rather than making new signings.

The Rhinos are currently finalising their recruitment for 2020, with a move for Cronulla forward Matt Prior their top priority.

That move hinges on outgoings, with the club needing to free up a quota spot in order to bring the 32-year-old to Headingley.

Trent Merrin’s future will be resolved by the time he returns to pre-season training on November 4th and, should he leave, it will free up a quota spot. But if the captain stays, Leeds would have to make space elsewhere.

However, Agar has suggested that there won’t be many more changes, with the Leeds coach planning to recruit from within.

In particular, there have been suggestions that Leeds will sign a hooker after Shaun Lunt’s departure, but Agar pointed to two youngsters who may take that role.

“If the right player came up we’d never say never,” Agar said.

“But I’ve a lot of confidence in a lot of our young players and Corey Johnson is one of them. Callum (McLelland) is another. We feel he could spend time at hooker.

“It’s certainly not something we’re panicking about. Right now we’ve no quota spot and we have faith in our younger players.

“We’ve very much got an eye on keeping a pathway for our younger players. Harry Newman, Cam Smith and Mikolaj Oledzki are all a part of the long-term future of this club.”

Meanwhile, Agar expects a near fully-fit squad to report back to training next month, with a number of post-season operations going successfully. Agar also confirmed Brett Ferres will still be at the club next year.

“Ava (Seumanufagai) and Brett Ferres had operations the week before the end of the season,” he confirmed.

“One other to take note of is Alex Sutcliffe, who played deep into the Grand Final with Featherstone. He’ll not be in full training until just before Christmas as he needs an operation on a thumb injury.”