Super League: How Leeds Rhinos aim to make a Canberra Raiders half-back reunion help them in 2022 | Rugby League News

New Rhinos midfielders Blake Austin and Aidan Sezer will aim to reproduce the same kind of form they showed playing together in the NRL after moving to Headingley from Warrington Wolves and Huddersfield Giants respectively.

Last updated: 24/12/21 10:35

Aidan Sezer and Blake Austin will line up together again for Leeds in 2022

Blake Austin and Aidan Sezer may be a new midfielder partnership for the Leeds Rhinos in 2022, but the two will rejoin a relationship from their days at the Canberra Raiders.

The duo played together at GIO Stadium for three seasons from 2016 to 2018, with their partnership terminated when Austin swapped the NRL for the Super League to join the Warrington Wolves.

Sezer followed him to these shores in 2020 with the Huddersfield Giants, earning a nomination for Man of Steel during the campaign interrupted by the pandemic, but after two seasons playing for rival teams, they are now quickly struggling with being mates again. as a team as the Rhinos prepare for 2022.

“Just the fact that they played together before gave them an advantage rather than coming in cold and having to learn the principles and playing style of a team and build those relationships around them,” said Leeds manager Richard Agar. .

“The fact that they already have that relationship makes communication and dialogue so much easier. They both made a really positive contribution … and got to the same page very, very quickly.

“They come from different clubs and very different styles of rugby and have joined a club with probably another different style.”

Austin and Sezer enjoyed a fruitful partnership in Canberra, leading them to a game from an NRL Grand Final appearance in 2016 only to be down by two points to eventual runner-up Melbourne Storm in the preliminary finals.

Just because they played together before gave them an edge rather than coming cold and having to learn the principles and playing style of a team and build those relationships around them.

Leeds manager Richard Agar talks about Blake Austin and Aidan Sezer

Hagar hasn’t spent much time reviewing clips of what worked for both of them during those years in Australia, but knowledge of what they can do from their respective spells at Warrington and Huddersfield has contributed to the plans for next season.

The pair also provided plenty of feedback to the manager and his staff, also benefiting from ideas implemented by four-time Super League winner and assistant Rhinos manager Sean Long.

“It’s probably collaborative,” Agar said. “We knew a little about them before they got here, because we had seen them play in this competition before – which, again, was a bit of an added factor in why it would be great to have these guys.

“We’ve got them stuck on the pitch, we get feedback from those guys. We thought we figured out what could work for both players in the roles they have, they feel comfortable with it, and they give feedback, and we respond to them.

Sezer showed some promising signs in pre-season training with Leeds

Sezer showed some promising signs in pre-season training with Leeds

“In terms of finding that ball with the ball, that was the easy part. They both have exceptional attacking skills and characteristics and Aidan’s control was exceptional for us.”

Sezer and former British tourist Austin are likely to get their first run-out together in Rhinos shirts in the Boxing Day pre-season match at home against Wakefield Trinity, with Headingley faithful no doubt eager to see. their attacking skills to the fore.

For Agar, however, the main focus of training so far has been to quickly update them on what happens without ball possession, perfecting how they will work with the three quarters out of them and the back rows inside them on their respective sides. of the defensive line.

“There is the offensive side, but I think defense for us is immediately what we need to work on,” Agar said.

“A big puzzle” – Hagar about building a team with a salary cap

Leeds head coach Richard Agar on the Rhinos’ approach to building a team capable of fighting for Super League honors.

“When you start talking about edge defense, teams defend themselves in different ways and individuals defend themselves in different ways on a border.

“Just getting the understanding, the synergy and putting them on the same page as the edge-four units is something we will have to work pretty hard on before the season starts.”

Sky Sports will once again broadcast extensive coverage of the Betfred Super League in 2022, including 25 live matches in the first 11 rounds of the season between February and April. The second match of the Leeds away campaign against Wigan Warriors on Friday 18 February is among those to be presented.


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