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Leeds Rhinos part company with head coach Rohan Smith

Leeds Rhinos sack Rohan Smith

Leeds Rhinos have announced that they have parted company with Head Coach, Rohan Smith. Smith, who joined the club partway through the 2022 season, guided the club to a Super League Grand Final in his first season in charge.

However, the Rhinos have struggled for consistency since then and currently sit outside the play-off places. Whilst Leeds remain in contention for the play-off places, they suffered a humiliating defeat against Hull FC at the weekend, who had not won in their previous 11 games in all competitions.

Leeds host Leigh Leopards at Headingley on Friday night, where the club will honour the memory of Rob Burrow. If Leigh win the game, they will close the gap to Leeds to one point in the Super League table.

Leeds finished outside Super League’s top six in 2023, ending the season in eighth place.

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Leeds Rhinos part company with Rohan Smith

Credit: Imago Images

A club statement confirming the news stated:

“Leeds Rhinos have agreed by mutual consent that Head Coach Rohan Smith will step down with immediate effect.

“Smith joined the Rhinos in April 2022 and steered the club to the Super League Grand Final in his first year having agreed a deal until the end of the 2025 season.

Smith joined the Rhinos from Norths Devils having worked with a host of NRL clubs throughout his coaching career of over 20 years including New Zealand Warriors, Sydney Roosters and Penrith Panthers. He was also Head Coach of Bradford Bulls in 2016.”

Speaking of the decision to leave the club, Smith stated:

“I had always stated that it was a long term project to establish a team that will be able to have sustainable success, and I believe that we have assembled a roster that can continue to push for a 2024 playoff spot, the supporters can get behind the boys and give them their support.

“Friday will be a special night for the club and we wanted to remove the ongoing coaching speculation and distraction. Celebrating Rob [Burrow]’s life, the great work done by the club and Kev [Sinfield] for the MND community and playing well is the focus for Friday.

I believe this team can still achieve great things and I am proud of the work that the coaching team have done to develop players, especially the next generations. Unfortunately, I will not be Head Coach to see this development continue but I look forward to watching the clubs future successes and wish everyone at the club all the best for the future,” Smith concluded.

Hetherington states results on the pitch did not meet expectations

Leeds Rhinos

Credit: Imago Images

Speaking to the decision to change Head Coach, Chief Executive, Gary Hetherington, stated it was not an easy decision. However, results on the field have not met expectations, and the club felt a change of direction was necessary.

“It is always disappointing to lose a Head Coach especially someone like Rohan, who has done so much good work behind the scenes since his arrival two years ago. At that point we were sat near the foot of the table but he re-invigorated us to reach the Grand Final with an incredible run of form.

“However, it is fair to say the Rhinos results and performances this season have not met all our expectations to get us back to where we want to be. The Board has a long term strategy for where we want the club to be in the future, which started with the appointment of Ian Blease as our first Sporting Director.

“Ian is now carefully considering our options moving forward before making his recommendations to the Board. On behalf of everyone at the Rhinos, I would like to thank Rohan for his dedication and hard work as Head Coach.

“It is rare to meet a coach who is so passionate about Rugby League, at all levels, as Rohan and personally, having brought Rohan and his young family over to England, it is sad that his time at the club has not brought the success I know he so much desired and we both believed possible at the outset”

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