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Gary Hetherington enters dressing room as Rohan Smith appears late for media duties

Gary Hetherington Rohan Smith

Leeds Rhinos’ season went from bad to worse today. The Rhinos have been inconsistent throughout the Super League season, whilst still doing just enough to remain in contention for the top six. Their latest defeat against Hull FC is a new low moment for a side struggling for consistency with pressure building on Rohan Smith.

The defeat also ramps up the pressure on head coach, Rohan Smith. Smith has faced calls to leave during a run of poor performances from Leeds fans, particularly following their last game at Hull FC, which they won 18-12.

After the game, the Rhinos coach did not report to Sky Sports immediately for his post-match media duties. The Rhinos squad, and Smith, all went straight into the Leeds dressing room and were reportedly joined by Leeds Chief Executive, Gary Hetherington.

Smith eventually joined the Jenna Brooks pitch side to address Leeds’ poor performance.

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Gary Hetherington enters Rhinos’ dressing room after defeat.

Credit: Imago Images

In the aftermath of Leeds’ defeat, Sky Sports reported the news that Grahy Hetherington had gone straight into the Leeds dressing room after their defeat. Brian Carney said:

“Now we’re pitch side here at the MKM Stadium and the players having completed the game here, players and coaches and stuff, usually complete their media duties and you would normally see some opposition team milling around. I have not been able to see any.

Brooks then reported that Smith has not come out to face the media immediately and was joined by the entire squad and Hetherington in the dressing room. Brooks said:

“I’m still waiting for Rowan Smith to come out for his post-match interview. I can tell you the conclusion of this game of this defeat for the Rhinos, Rohan and all of his players went straight into the dressing room they closed the door.

Nobody has come out I can tell you somebody has gone in though. Gary Hetherington, the chief executive officer of the Leeds Rhinos, has come down from the boardroom and he has entered the dressing room.

That is all I can tell you right now, that is all we know, but I will try and get to the bottom of this and find out exactly what is going on inside the Leeds Rhinos dressing room.”

Rohan Smith blames errors for Leeds Rhinos defeat

Leeds Rhinos

Credit: Imago Images

When Smith eventually did speak to Sky Sports, he blamed a string of errors for Leeds’ defeat. He believed that his side let Hull FC off the hook by surrendering the ball too easily throughout the game. Smith said:

“Too many back-to-back errors so the opportunity, opportunities that would present themselves, we were rolling and we were creating enough inroads. We didn’t capitalise and we didn’t apply enough pressure for long enough.”

Addressing Hetherington’s visit to the dressing room after the game, Smith stated that it was important to stick together in the difficult moments, and that Hetherington had come to share that moment with the team post-game in solidarity.

“I think it’s important after, you know, particularly after disappointing performances, that you get together and you stay together and you talk about how to work through it and the importance of this week ahead and sort of not compounding our errors, playing confidently no matter what the score or the situation and sticking together.

I think it’s important to spend those moments together post-game.”

Asked whether he believed he would have the confidence of incoming Sporting Director Ian Blease, Smith expressed his belief that they will develop a good working relationship.

“Look, Ian and I have had one very casual conversation after he’d just done the media rounds and had a look around the building. So Ian and I will get to know each other and we’ll talk through how things are currently in action and Ian will no doubt have some opinions on how to improve things.”

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