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Paul Wellens would be sacked if he had Rohan Smith’s record, says Jon Wilkin

Jon Wilkin

Former St Helens captain Jon Wilkin has claimed that the current Saints boss Paul Wellens would have been long gone if he had the same record that Leeds Rhinos boss Rohan Smith does.

Leeds Rhinos under Rohan Smith are certainly an enigma and this season they’ve been accused by Jon Wilkin of being a “soft defensive team”  that end up being rolled over by their opponents, something that happened on Friday night as St Helens hammered them 40-10.

Speaking pre-game on the record of the Rhinos under Rohan Smith, Wilkin argued that the club’s recent seasons and those finishing positions have been “simply not good enough”. Smith took the Rhinos into the playoffs in 2022 but failed in 2023 and is currently failing in 2024.

Those results and the seasons prior led Jon Wilkin to argued: “Leeds Rhinos’ finishing position in the league is simply not good enough. For a club that I respect infinitely as the biggest adversary during my career and when I look at those league positions, I think of Jamie Peacock, Kevin Sinfield, Rob Burrow, Danny Maguire, and I question if that would be acceptable for that period of time.”

When pushed by Sky Sports presenter Brian Carney on the fact Grand Finals could be won from fifth, the former Saints skipper was having none of it.

“They did (win twice from fifth position), but the league position is your biggest indication of consistency, and Leeds haven’t been consistent for way a long time.”

Jon Wilkin suggests that Rohan Smith is getting off lightly

The Jon Wilkin rant wasn’t over though as he went even further and suggested that the results at Leeds Rhinos were so bad that higher-ups at other clubs, such as St Helens, would have no choice but to make a coaching change.

After reeling off Leeds’ poor finish positions and the current form that the Rhinos are going through, Wilkin claimed: “If that’s Paul Wellens in that situation he’s lost his job.

“To continuously stay in that position for me is mad.”

Whilst Jon Wilkin may find Leeds mediocre seasons of late and the fact Rohan Smith has retained his job as mad, it should be pointed out that the club are actually only two points outside of the playoffs.

Just one win takes the Rhinos into the top six and with a run of games including the current bottom three of Castleford Tigers, Hull FC and London Broncos, then perhaps Rohan Smith will pick up those wins and take the club back into the top six.

As for Paul Wellens, Jon Wilkin made comments about how strange it was that Saints hadn’t secured his future. Wellens is off contract at the end of the season and Wilkin claimed that the current uncertainty over his future just creates more pressure.

“I find it strange that it’s not been discussed in the public forum. You’d think it’d be out there but we don’t know the conversations.

“It could well be well on behind the scenes and it’s just not been talked about but the fact remains, if you’re the St Helens head coach then you’re under pressure all the time. He’ll be under pressure now as much as he was when he started.”

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Jaybs

    May 26, 2024 at 10:35 am

    Don’t agree with Wilkin hardy on any subject, his Big Mouth shouts about, but I worry about Paul Wellens, who is one of the real young Gentlemen of RL, but is he a Coach? I have serious concerns, he never looks at ease, is he out of his depth? All ex players can’t all be Coaches of teams, that is the position here.

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