“Fundamental changes” did it for Leeds

Leeds coach Richard Agar has paid a tribute to his entire club after the Rhinos reached their first Challenge Cup Final in five years on Saturday.

The Rhinos produced a superb display to defeat Wigan and reach their first major final under Agar’s watch.

Agar inherited the Leeds squad following two dismal seasons and his first game in charge saw the Rhinos suffer a humiliating Challenge Cup defeat to Bradford in the last 16 of the competition last year.

Now, he’s guided his side to Wembley and he admits he couldn’t be prouder of the transformation.

“I’m just really happy on a number of levels,” he said.

“The players have committed to everything we’ve asked of them. This time last year we got knocked out by Bradford in what was a difficult week and day for the club. We stuck together and now we’re in the Challenge Cup Final.

“I can’t pay tribute enough to our players for the commitment they’ve shown to each other and internally to the club and coaching staff to turn it around and I think it’s fair to say we’re doing that at the moment.

“I’m really proud to coach this famous club. I probably got the job by accident, being in the wrong place at the wrong time, but on a personal level it’s been written about a lot. The Challenge Cup holds a lot of fondness and personal memories for me, going back to my childhood, I’ve been very fortunate to experience Challenge Cup finals through my coaching career.

“I’m more pleased for the players though, the way they’ve believed in each other, supported each other and rode out some difficult days.

“I’m proud of the spirit we’ve developed internally. I’ve spoken a lot about challenging the benchmark clubs consistently and Leeds should do too, in the next part of our progression that’s what we need to do, but I’m really proud of the spirit and the good guys in this team.”

He continued: “The club had a couple of difficult years. I didn’t feel like I was pulling too much baggage personally, but there was a realisation for myself that a different style of training and a couple of different drills wouldn’t fix this. We needed fundamental changes to the way we operated as a club.”

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