Richard Agar: Victory over Warrington a fitting send-off for Jamie Jones Buchanan

James Messenger

Leeds Head Coach Richard Agar says their comprehensive 26-4 victory over Warrington was the perfect send-off for the retiring Jamie Jones-Buchanan. 

The 38-year-old has announced his decision to hang up his boots following a tremendous career at the Rhinos, having progressed through the club’s academy since the age of 15.

Since making his first-team debut in 1999, Jones-Buchanan has gone on to win eight Super League Grand Finals, three World Club Challenges and a Challenge Cup title during his time at the club.

This year, the Leeds stalwart also became the first player to play for 20 years in Super League, and was given the honour of captaining the Rhinos on his 421st appearance.

Jones-Buchanan will retire alongside fellow forward Carl Ablett, who has been sidelined for the entirety of 2019 with an ankle injury.

Although he didn’t manage to cross on his home farewell, Jones-Buchanan still helped his side record a comfortable win over the Wolves, with tries from Liam Sutcliffe, Robert Lui, Adam Cuthbertson and Luke Briscoe ensuring they ended the season on a high.

Speaking after the game, Agar said: “Emotion was going to play a big part tonight. We knew the crowd would thrive on that and I thought our players thrived on that as well.

“Throughout the contest, defensively, we held up really well. We started to kick the ball a little bit better after that opening period and we’ve gone toe-to-toe [with Warrington].

“Jonesy led the side with a tremendous example. [It was] a real precious moment; a few of the boys were welling up.

“We got his wife and children and mum to present his shirt in the changing room before kick-off, which was a bit of a surprise for him.

“Off the back of that, I think our boys invested the right amount of emotional energy into the game.”

Victory in the final game of the regular season means that the Rhinos finish eighth in the table, four points ahead of London at the bottom of the table.

Now, Agar hopes his side can start looking forward and preparing for next season in the hope that they avoid a fight for survival at the wrong end of the table.

“We always said we wanted to go out on the right note and these final two games, once the relegation issue was sorted, were really important.

“I’ve not done the maths on this, but I think our form over [the last] 14 or 15 games has us around the top four or five.

“That is a real credit to the boys for how they turned the season around, but we didn’t want a long off-season dwelling on a couple of defeats. I think that leaves us on a positive about where we are as a squad and what we want to achieve.”

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