As players, Brett Hodgson and Richie Myler won a Challenge Cup together. Now the former is planning on how to deal with the threats posed by the latter as Hull FC prepare to take on Leeds Rhinos in Super League on Sunday.
That triumph at Wembley with Warrington Wolves nine years ago saw Hodgson line up at full-back and Myler playing in the halves. However, the past year has seen Myler transition into the No. 1 role with Leeds, winning the Lance Todd Trophy there for his role in the Rhinos’ Cup final win last year.
The 30-year-old is set to return to the Leeds side for the visit of Hull to Emerald Headingley, which is live on Sky Sports, after completing a two-game ban and Black and Whites head coach Hodgson is not surprised he remains a key player – even if he never expected him to star in his old position.
Leeds Rhinos vs Hull FC
May 23, 2021, 7:00pm
“We’ve lost contact over the last few years, but he was always a good player,” Hodgson said. “He can create opportunities, he’s a good runner of the ball so we’ve got to make sure we’re accounting for him.
“I didn’t think he’d be a full-back at the time because I’d never seen him play there so it’s very difficult to see how a player is going to play in another position, but I think he’s handled it very well.
“I actually think his best position probably is full-back because it takes away from him having to organise.
“Even though he’s pretty good at that as well, his running game is what sets him apart and he was always a good runner of the ball even when playing in the halves. It doesn’t surprise me he’s kicked on in his career.”
I actually think his best position probably is full-back because it takes away from him having to organise. Even though he’s pretty good at that as well, his running game is what sets him apart.
Brett Hodgson on Richie Myler
The former Man of Steel opined he actually expects Myler to start in the halves alongside Luke Gale against Hull FC this weekend, with Leeds being short of players in that position due to injuries afflicting their squad and the news breaking this week that Kyle Eastmond has retired from playing.
For his part, Hodgson’s opposite number Richard Agar would not be drawn on whether he would break up the partnership of Gale and Liam Sutcliffe or put Myler in at full-back as the Rhinos aim to build on last Friday’s 15-13 golden point extra-time win over Wakefield Trinity.
But wherever the Widnes native plays, Agar is in no doubt he will have a positive influence on the team as they try to find a way to break down the side with the third-best defensive record in Super League so far this season.
“Our try-line defensive organisation will be better and he’ll definitely help out half-backs,” Agar said. “His influence as a full-back has been pretty good for us for some time.
“I think if we go back to Round 1, that’s the only time Luke and Richie have been on the field together this year and in the first 15 minutes of the game we created tries and endless chances with those two in synch.
“We’ve got a tough defensive team to come up against this weekend, but I’d anticipate Richie getting our defensive line organised really well and giving us some stronger options and us being a little more clinical when attack comes.”
Hodgson’s side have won praise for their defensive strength which has seen them make a positive start to the league campaign and reach the Challenge Cup semi-finals, but in attack Hull FC are currently averaging just over 19 points per game in Super League after six matches.
The head coach conceded the 27-10 defeat to Catalans Dragons at the KCOM Stadium on Monday night underlined that to an extent.
I’d anticipate Richie getting our defensive line organised really well and giving us some stronger options, and us being a little more clinical when attack comes.
Richard Agar on Richie Myler
Overall though, he is pleased with how his team are progressing with the ball in hand and believes it will not take long for their attack to start firing once the likes of off-season signing Josh Reynolds – who has already caught the eye even with missing games due to injury – Marc Sneyd and Jake Connor get more game-time together.
“I think it does take time to get the combinations, but we’ve also got to give a lot of credit to the way Catalans defended,” Hodgson said.
“We’re not unhappy with the way we’re attacking at the minute. Understandably, we would like to score more points – as everyone would at this time of year – but that will come with combinations.”
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