Leeds Rhinos suffer from “late withdrawal” ahead of Hull KR clash as Rohan Smith explains Blake Austin decision

Leeds face a tough task against Hull KR tonight looking for a first win at Craven Park since 2018.

A win would also ensure the Rhinos remain within the top six and could even take fifth spot depending on Castleford’s result against Catalans tonight. A victory would see Leeds take a three point lead on Hull KR, Salford and Hull FC in the race for the play-offs though Salford and Hull FC have games to play but they’re against top four occupants Huddersfield and Champions St Helens respectively.

But Leeds’ job has been made harder by another absentee on top of banned trio Aidan Sezer, Rhyse Martin and David Fusitu’a with James Bentley pulling out of the game at short notice.

Speaking on Leeds’ twitter page, Rohan Smith explained why Bentley is absent tonight.

“That was a late withdrawal,” Smith said He tried to get himself going yesterday but he’s still too stiff and sore from last time and on a short turn around he just wasn’t going to be ready.”

Smith also explained the decision to name returning halfback Blake Austin on the bench with Cameron Smith taking over from Sezer at scrumhalf instead.

On this Smith said: “We’ll see how the game’s planning out. Austin’s done a pretty good job and looked really sharp this week in training. We’ll see how the game unfolds and choose how we use him.

Cam Smith’s move to seven sees Jarrod O’Connor move to 13 with James Donaldson still injured. That sees Brad Dwyer start with Corey Johnson on the bench.

On Dwyer starting, Smith was excited noting that, “Brad has impact whether he starts or off the bench but with Jarrod O’Connor at 13 it’s good to get him starting and get his speed going from the beginning.”

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