Agar shrugs off Gale argument

Leeds Rhinos coach Richard Agar says it’s business as usual with Luke Gale, despite stripping him of the captaincy and rumours that Blake Austin will join Aidan Sezer at the Rhinos next season, meaning there could be three high-profile candidates for the two halfback roles.

Australian ace Austin is out of contract at Warrington, who recently signed former Canberra and Wigan star George Williams and say they will retain Gareth Widdop, and is being heavily linked with Leeds, who have already announced the signing of his compatriot Sezer from Huddersfield on a two-year deal to start in 2022.

Gale, who still has a year to go on the contract he signed when moving from Castleford ahead of last season, is no longer skipper following a bust-up with Agar in the wake of the 27-18 Super League defeat by Catalans Dragons in France.

He was left out as Leeds beat Salford 38-16 at home but returned to figure in Thursday’s 22-12 win at Hull, with Australian forward Matt Prior captain on both occasions.

Leeds said the decision to stand down Gale as captain was for “behaviours not aligned to team trademarks” and the 33-year-old later admitted he walked out of a team meeting.

Agar says all parties have moved on, explaining: “It was tough but we all realised it needed to be done.

“We have a set of standards we have to adhere to and he put his hand up and said he wavered on that.

“What I will say is that if anybody thinks you don’t go through a season without disagreements in a Rugby League squad, then you’re kidding.

“It won’t be the last that I have as a head coach and I dare say it won’t be the last that Luke will have.”

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