Departing King Vuniyayawa playing through pain barrier for Leeds

Leeds coach Richard Agar has hailed departing prop King Vuniyayawa for playing through the pain barrier in case the Rhinos need him over the next couple of weeks.

The Fiji international has agreed to join another club – believed to be Salford – for 2022 after turning down the offer a new contract with Leeds.

He is likely to need surgery on a foot injury but is happy to put it off in case he is still needed by the Rhinos before the end of the year.

“He wants to put up with some pain for a couple of weeks in case we need him, which speaks volumes about his character,” Agar said.

Leeds, who came out on the right side of a golden-point match in Newcastle, can climb into fourth place with a win at St Helens on Friday at the expense of Wigan, who play Hull away in their penultimate league game on Saturday.

“It’s a game of massive importance,” Agar said. “We’re still trying for fourth spot which would give us a home game and we want to get it nailed.

“There is no greater challenge in the game than going over to St Helens.”

A fourth defeat of the season has not dimmed Woolf’s faith in his team, who he maintains are finding their form at the right time.

“We’ve played some really good footy over the last few weeks,” he said. “I would go as far as saying that it’s the best footy we’ve played on both sides of the ball.

“We’ve come together as a group and had some really big games to test us. I’m really happy with how we’re travelling.

“We’ve played – outside of ourselves – the three best teams in the competition in the last three or four weeks and I think Leeds are the next best.

“Leeds are going to be really desperate and will bring a high quality level of footy. They got some real threats.

“Every team is banged up at this time of the year but everyone is finding a way to get through it and come up with performances regardless. That’s what I expect of Leeds.”

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