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Exclusive: Rohan Smith admits things need to change at Leeds Rhinos

Rohan Smith spoke to the press after Leeds Rhinos were shockingly beaten by Wakefield Trinity today.

Summation of defeat

Huge disappointment. We let ourselves down. Against a very spirited team that have dug deep and competed hard all year.

We just let ourselves down in that first half particularly. Not executing opportunities was the issue this week. It’s not always the same thing or the same person so we’ve got to keep chasing the answers.

Today it was unforced errors in open space that probably hurt us the most, which is not a common issue. We made quite a few inroads in that first half, but just didn’t finish it off. Yeah, we’ve changed some things and improved a lot. When you have a numerical advantage, you’ve seen it this year, it doesn’t always make a difference.

Sending off

I don’t think it makes it more frustrating. As we’ve seen, it can galvanise teams in the Super League and the NRL. doesn’t always mean extra anything, but we just didn’t play well enough, clearly, collectively and individually, just nowhere near the standard.

We’ve had a lot of close games this year where Yeah, that’s the first thing of sport that you want to be in the contest, but our ability to, some games start games, other games finish games, it’s not been good enough.

Feeling low

I feel low after every poor performance, loss, the losses never leave it coach, I don’t think. You learn to deal with them a bit better but you tend to carry them with you. There’s a lot of hurt and disappointment, me personally, and in the dressing room.

There’s a lot of hurt, it’s not standard, it’s not close to the standard. So, we’ve got to find it quick.

Week off

Maybe a good time to dwell on it and think things through on an individual basis and for us as a coaching staff to identify the areas we think we can improve on quickest and being ready for the players to come back in and prepare for the hardest field game.

There will be a bunch of players likely to be available after the break as well, well so that’ll drive some competition and some fresh energy. Sometimes it’s good to dwell on bad performance for a while and work out how much you want to fight through the other side and that’s part of what I just said to the guys. It’s probably a very similar situation to last year.

You can you know you can choose to fight or you can choose to tap out you know and that’s there’s only one solution when you sign up for coaching is to to fight. Credit to Mark and his team have kept competing got themselves a result today and that guy keeps fronting up and I have much respect for that fella.

Leon Ruan debut

He went well. He was ahead of schedule there with the HIA or failed HIA to NNA, I think he landed on his head down there, we can’t see it from the camera angle that we had, down in that corner, but I think he landed on his head and contested the kick. So Leon came on a bit earlier than anticipated but he started with us July last year doing a little bit while still playing at Doncaster. I don’t think he’s missed a session. He works hard. He’s a terrific young bloke.

He’s worked his whole life to get that opportunity today to play for Leeds. I thought he gave a good account of himself on debut. It’s a shame we couldn’t celebrate a win for him but he’s certainly one for the future and maybe a bit more for the present as well.

Faith in the squad?

Yeah I do. When I got here last year I believed in the players that were here when I arrived and we got a result. There’s a short and long term thing here every week in coaching that you’re trying to build something for the future while trying to win every week. and the group won’t change. I think that’s where a lot of the frustration you know amongst coaches and the players and the fans is that there’s talent there. A few weeks ago we have some monumental performances one resulting in a result, a positive result, some of the others didn’t but they were big performances. You don’t become a bad team but we were a bad team today. We’ve got it in us to play much better and we will.

A lack of leadership

Well I think leadership comes in lots of different forms. Some are leading the way, there, we’re there.

Trying to show the way, but in the end you can’t do other people’s jobs for them. There’s a strong voice there when needed. Ash and Cam have taken a lot of leadership on in the last couple of months and there’s other players there that have a strong voice when needed. But individually you’ve got to do your job and own your area of the field and own your play. At the moment we’re just accumulating too many poor plays back to back and that’s given given other teams an opportunity.

James Bentley mad at being taken off

I’d be more surprised if he was okay with it you know he’s he’s a great competitor and if a player shows some frustration about being replaced, that’s no problem to me. In the end it’s about moving forward and on to the next task. But in that moment, you won’t be the first or the last player to be frustrated with being replaced.

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