Leeds Rhinos star explains why it was a “dark place” at Headingley early in 2022 as he sheds light on Rohan Smith revolution

It was a funny first season at Leeds for Blake Austin and the other big names who signed for Headingley this year. 

It was very easy to assign blame to the quartet when things weren’t going well at the start of the season but they went on to make the Grand Final against St Helens.

And for those star players it was a bit of a “different” year.

“It’s been different I guess,” Austin told Serious About Rugby League earlier this year, “We had a tough start to the year. When you’re not winning, life gets a bit more difficult in all aspects but we probably came out the other side a more rounded person and player.

“It’s a pretty dark place when you’re in a team that should be going a lot better than what it is and you lose five or six on the bounce but we had a really good period with Jonesy and then Rohan has come along and put his flavour on the team and things are going well.

“I think he’s relieved a lot of individual pressure, everything he talks about is team orientated. No one’s role in the team is any more important than the next guy. Individuals have responsibilities but we all share the work load.”

Austin opened up on how things have changed under Smith and the philosophies he’s brought to Headingley: “We’ve been taught pretty early on under Rohan not to look too far ahead. One of his philosophies is ‘one week at a time’ and ‘what happened last week doesn’t mean it’s going to happen again next week.

“Rohan has instilled a philosophy of the team comes before anything so wherever I am on the field, I certainly hope it’s at six, I’ll do my best for the team.”

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