Leeds coach Richard Agar has been full of praise for the club’s youngsters and says they will be relying heavily on them this week.
The Rhinos are still well down on numbers ahead of Thursday’s Super League clash with Leigh, having lost Luke Gale, Bodene Thompson and Alex Mellor to suspension and Konrad Hurrell and Richie Myler to injury.
Agar will turn to one of – or even both – Rob Lui and Callum McLelland to step up on their first appearances of the season while Matt Prior, Kruise Leeming and Mikolaj Oledzki will play their third games in seven days after appearing in the England-All Stars match last Friday.
Agar said: “We’ve got our own challenges, with players playing out of position and with heavy workloads but we’ve a positive bunch of guys.
“It’s been challenging most of the year. Rarely have we had less than 10 players unavailable and we’re without nine or 10 this week.
“The silver lining to the short-term pain is that our young players are having some great exposure to first grade and doing a really good job and we’ll be relying heavily on them this week.”
Leigh have not beaten Leeds since gaining an 18-6 Stones Bitter Championship victory at Hilton Park in February 1988 but Agar is warning his players to expect a stern challenge after witnessing the improvements under Haggerty.
Agar said: “They will see this as a great opportunity and I’m sure their coach will be finding some positives from their last three or four performances.
“I know they’ve lost every game but offensively they have shown a willingness to throw the ball about and they’ve certainly got some strike in the backs.
“I’ve seen enough to suggest that, if they get enough of the ball, they can ask you some serious questions.
“I like their attitude, they are turning up and having a crack with the ball. The numbers say defence has been an issue but I like their style of play.”