Leeds Rhinos are back in the Grand Final for the first time in five years.
They’re set to play in a 11th Grand Final chasing a record nine Grand Final win despite the fact they were second bottom in April and finished fifth.
The Rhinos have won two previous Grand Finals after finishing fifth but this is a very different group to the ones who have lifted the Super League trophy in the past.
However, a young group, Leeds skipper Kruise Leeming believes this could be the start of a new successful period at Headingley: “It’s a very different group, a naïve group to these occasions but because of how young our team is this could put us in good stead because this team could stay together for the next five, six, seven or eight years and if we’re winning it now who knows what’s to come.
“Every game is a little different. The only way to get experience of winning big games is playing big games.”
He also spoke about the journey Leeds have been on in 2022:
“We’re going into this game confident and I feel like between a good player and a bad player goes a lot on confidence. It’s pretty much the same 17 that couldn’t win a game and now we’re in a Grand Final.
“What Rohan’s done and how good he’s been just telling us how good we are as players and building us up with a sprinkling with systems and plays he’s brought in.”
Speaking of the changes Rohan has made, Smith made the bold decision in the play-offs to go with natural loose-forward Jarrod O’Connor as his number nine with Leeming dropping to the bench.
Other players, other captains, could be frustrated by this but not Leeming: “It’s working what Rohan’s done, it’s given us a different dynamic starting with Jarrod and taking the sting out of the game.
“If we in a Grand Final it’s been a masterstroke. It’s working so why change it.”
Leeming also revealed he has taken time out to support the developing O’Connor: “I spend a lot of time with Jarrod, he’s a great lad and it’s great to see him doing so well. He’s easy to like, he’s one of those players that’s a sponge and wants to learn.
“He players hooker a lot different to the way I do, but there’s some stuff I’d want from me if I was in his position which I give him, we do our extras, our passes and video together.”