Leeds Rhinos head coach Richard Agar was forced to leave injured players on the pitch as a hectic schedule and Covid-19 took its toll on his squad.
The Rhinos ran out of substitutes as their injury toll mounted during Sunday’s 20-18 win over Wakefield – their fourth league match in 10 days.
Agar also had to stand down a player before the trip to Belle Vue after a family member contracted Covid-19.
“It was pretty much last man standing,” he said.
“We’ve had a very, very tough run in terms of the demands on us and training yesterday was more like roll call to see who could play.”
Challenge Cup winners Leeds sit just outside the Super League play-off places in fifth spot and needed a win to maintain their hopes of breaking into the top four – in the current system.
Agar’s side were already missing a quartet of self-isolating players, and despite clinching a late victory, the result came with a price.
“It was never going to be pretty, but it was a must-win game and I’m really pleased the guys found the guts and will to win,” Agar added.
“We lost Rob Lui and Kruise Leeming to head knocks and two other players shouldn’t have been out there, but we couldn’t get them off the field as we had used all our subs up.”
Hooker Brad Dwyer was one of three Rhinos playing their fourth game in 10 days and continues to feel the effects of Covid-19, but somehow summoned the energy to drive over for the match-winning try.
“Brad has had Covid and his recovery from games is very difficult,” Agar said. “Yesterday he could hardly move, he could barely lean over and tie his bootlaces up.
“We gave him the option to play, he brings tons of energy to us.”