Rohan Smith discusses Brad Dwyer exclusion and Leeds Rhinos’ competition for places

Leeds Rhinos head coach Rohan Smith has had to make some tough decisions on his squad in recent days and weeks.

With a number of his stars returning from injuries and suspensions, it has left the former Norths Devils boss with good selection headaches for once.

One of those was evident in Leeds’ big win over the Catalans Dragons last Friday night with Smith picking Jarrod O’Connor at hooker and Kruise Leeming on the bench.

That meant that there was no space for livewire hooker Brad Dwyer, who will be joining Hull FC in 2023.

That decision was questioned at the time, but Smith is a head coach for a reason and the choice certainly paid off with O’Connor tackling like it was going out of fashion – especially against some of the much larger Catalans forwards.

Now, Smith has revealed why he left Dwyer out of the team.

“It was a difficult selection but it is part of the puzzle. Leaving James Donaldson out the week before was a really tough decision as well,” Smith said.

“It’s about making some tough choices because we’ve got fit players. Brad will certainly be in contention for this week, there will be a number of considerations that will need to be made.

“Three had to go into two last week against a team that bases their team around being big and strong in that middle third.”

Leeds and Smith might will be challenged on Friday night when they go up against the Wigan Warriors for a place in the Super League Grand Final at the end of the month.

If the Rhinos are able to go to the DW Stadium and win it will epitomise a truly remarkable turnaround for a club that had won just one of their opening six games of the season under previous boss Richard Agar.

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