Leeds Rhinos boss Richard Agar said he was largely happy with his side’s performance against Bradford, but was overwhelmingly proud of the occasion the club produced to celebrate Rob Burrow and Jamie Jones-Buchanan.
A sold out Emerald Headingley Stadium saw the Rhinos triumph over the Bulls 34-10, but the result was very much not the focal point of the afternoon, as legends from both clubs stepped back onto the field late on as a show of support for Burrow, who has recently been diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease.
“It was a fantastic occasion. The game almost became secondary to that really and if you’re asking me about our performance I’m not sure I remember too much from it to be honest,” he said.
“There wasn’t a dry eye in the house and full credit to both sets of players, the Bradford boys played the admission fee today to play which is just another wonderful example of what the sport can produce for such wonderful people.
In terms of the performance from his first team, Agar was pleased with his players’ efforts without the ball, but conceded he would like to see improvements in attack.
“It was a decent hit out. We’ve had a really big week in terms of workload and intensity so on the back of that I was pleased with our defensive performance,” he said.
“I thought we looked quick in defence with our line speed, retreat and intensity but I think if we’d have looked as quick in attack as we did in defence it would have been a better performance.
“We looked disjointed in attack and didn’t play enough football. We were a bit one out, but I’d expect it to be disjointed at this time of the year and I’d expect us to improve.”
Scrum half Luke Gale was a notable absentee from the game, but his coach was quick to point out he was left out as a precaution on a mild muscle injury.
“Galey is fine, just at the back end of the last session he felt a slight pull in his quad so we felt that if we were to throw him into the game having been more fatigued than he has been for a long time then it would have carried an element of risk and we want him to be ready to go into our Wigan game next week,” he added.