Leeds Rhinos’ Richard Agar applauds Ash Handley for response to England snub

Leeds Rhinos coach Richard Agar has applauded Ash Handley’s attitude of letting his performances do the talking for him after missing out on the latest England training squad last week.

Shaun Wane’s 30-man group included three Headingley representatives in Kruise Leeming, Harry Newman and Mikolaj Oledzki.

However, winger Handley, who debuted for England in their game against the All Stars last year, was a notable omission ahead of this autumn’s World Cup.

His response was emphatic, scoring a hat-trick of tries in Leeds’ victory at Wakefield Trinity on Thursday, and Agar was not surprised.

“That’s the type of kid that Ash is,” said Agar after seeing his side pick up their first win of the Super League season at the fourth attempt.

“Rather than kick stones and sulk, he’ll set his stall out to make his form as good as it can be and hope that the coach will change his mind, which he has done in the past.

“He’s always said he’s going to pick on form and I think he can be applauded for that.

“That’s the challenge to a number of our guys, to play well enough to start getting people thinking about them.

“At the moment we know we haven’t played as well as we can do as a team, so I think that will be key, but it was a great response from Ash.”

Handley was not the only impressive performer at Wakefield last week, and Agar was pleased with his whole back division as Leeds were able to field a first-choice one-to-seven for the first time and they clicked brilliantly in a devastating first half.

“I thought our outside backs were really good,” said the Rhinos chief.

“The performance our backs in the first half was great, much improved.

“I thought we set our stall out there to get after them quite early with some really good quality ball movement and the confidence we got off the back of that was great.

“There’s still plenty of hard work to do, don’t worry about that. But it’s certainly a step in the right direction.”

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