LEEDS Rhinos coach Richard Agar has praised Kyle Eastmond's bravery and honesty after the Oldham star's sudden retirement.

The dual-code England international returned to Super League on a two-year contract on the eve of the season but struggled to regain the fitness he needed to compete at the highest level.

In announcing his decision, Eastmond admitted did not have the drive required to make a real impact for the Rhinos.

“I think it was a really brave decision,” Agar said. “When we signed Kyle, we knew there was some risk, for a guy that has been out of the game so long.

“We were prepared to support him all the way through it but there was a realisation that it was going to be a longer road back than we anticipated.

“For every two steps forward, there were probably three steps back in terms of getting him on the training field.

“When the fire is not burning as strongly as it should be, it’s a very difficult place to be and he was very honest. He needs to be applauded for that.

“We gave it a go but it wasn’t to be and the way it ended is a real credit to Kyle.”

Leeds will now step up their recruitment plans but there will be no stop-gap signings according to Agar.

The Rhinos were already looking to secure a replacement for stand-off Rob Lui, who is currently sidelined through injury and will leave the club at the end of the season, and Agar admits the loss of Eastmond, just two matches into his comeback, has highlighted a deficiency in his squad.

“This has clearly forced our hand even more," Agar said.

“I don’t think there’s any need immediately to get in the market because, given what’s happened with Kyle, it’s really important for us that we don’t take another short-term route. Kyle was never meant to be short term but we don’t want to end up with a player that’s not going to be with us long."