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Leeds Rhinos boss denies victory papers over the cracks

Leeds Rhinos coach Rohan Smith

Leeds Rhinos have suffered from a stuttering start to the Super League season. However, they showed glimpses of what they can do in a comfortable 34-6 victory over the Castleford Tigers at Headingley Stadium yesterday. 

Leeds second-rower, Rhyse Martin, produced a virtuoso performance, scoring two tries and kicking five goals as the Rhinos eased to a win. The result lifted the Rhinos into Super League’s top six, temporarily at least, with Salford Red Devils playing London Broncos on Sunday afternoon.

The win also served to ease some of the immediate pressure which was building on head coach, Rohan Smith. In the week in which Leeds announced they would be recruiting a new Sporting Director, Smith has faced repeated questions about whether he is under pressure following a string of poor results.

Speaking after yesterday’s game, Smith stated his belief that Leeds were moving in the right direction in Super League.

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Leeds Rhinos showed a lot of courage in win

Leeds Rhinos

Credit: Imago Images

Speaking in his post-match press conference, Smith was asked whether yesterday’s win over a poor Tigers side just papered over the cracks. Smith disagreed, stating he believed that Leeds showed a lot of courage in their win. He believes that his Leeds side are a work in progress, and there is a long way to go in the Super League season.

“That was a strong performance today, regardless of who you’re playing against. There’s noise that’s been generated by people outside of this building, so to have to deflect that and fight through it, I think it shows a lot of courage and connection as a group to come and play like that today.

“We didn’t fall over the line. The fact is that we’re a work in progress and we’re sitting in the middle of the table in a congested competition.

“And there’s some teams that are playing really strongly at the moment and winning more often but we’re not half way through the season yet.” Smith said

He added that part of his job is ensuring the players are not affected by the outside noise, “The weeks are all the same to me, but the outside stuff filters in as much as you try and deflect it.”

Smith pleased with Rhinos overall performance

Ash Handley

Credit: Imago Images

Overall, Smith was pleased with his side’s performance. He was pleased with the confidence his side showed from the outset, although, he eblieves that they could have scored more, had they been more clinical in attack.

“Yeah, obviously very pleasing performance. We attacked the game from the start. I thought we played with confidence from the kick-off and didn’t give the other team a glimpse in the contest from a scoreboard point of view.” Smith said.

“It was a good team performance. I thought a good team performance from start to finish. We’re a team. I thought we lacked a little bit of, you know, maybe left a couple of points out there but that was a strong performance on the back of a difficult week.”

“I don’t think it does much for the belief. I think there’s a very high level of belief in the group and that’s maybe led to some of the frustration or disappointment. Because if you don’t believe you can play at a high level, well, you shouldn’t really be that disappointed if you get beat by a strong team.”

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