Rohan Smith explains Leeds Rhinos’ shock defeat to Wakefield Trinity

Rohan Smith had to stomach watching his Leeds Rhinos side suffer a devastating 24-14 defeat to Wakefield Trinity.

Devastating because the Rhinos were up against the previously winless Wakefield Trinity who were ravaged by injuries and went down to 12 men when Hugo Salabio was sent off just after half-time.

It compounds a real unpredictable season for Leeds, who have beaten Champions St Helens, Challenge Cup holders Wigan, league leaders Catalans but at the same time have lost twice to second bottom Castleford and now to previously winless Wakefield.

The defeat to Trinity leaves Rohan’s Rhinos four points off the Super League playoff places, with the eight-time Champions now needing a recovery similar to the one last season where they turned things around post-summer to reach the Grand Final.

Smith spoke after the game and as he explained what went wrong, he simply said the Rhinos let themselves down: “Huge disappointment. We let ourselves down. Against a very spirited team that have dug deep and competed hard all year.

“We just let ourselves down in that first half particularly. Not executing opportunities was the issue this week. It’s not always the same thing or the same person so we’ve got to keep chasing the answers.

“Today it was unforced errors in open space that probably hurt us the most, which is not a common issue. We made quite a few inroads in that first half, but just didn’t finish it off. Yeah, we’ve changed some things and improved a lot. When you have a numerical advantage, you’ve seen it this year, it doesn’t always make a difference.”

As mentioned, the defeat was an embarassing one for Leeds as the hosts picked up their first win of the Super League season at the fourteenth attempt to the delight of the Belle Vue fans.

Made even more embrassing for Leeds was the fact it was against 12 men for almost the complete second-half, and it also comes the game after another poor display in defeat to Castleford at Magic Weekend in Newcastle.

On whether Leeds should have done more when Wakefield were down to 12, Smith was quick to point to the fact that having a player sent off can sometimes help a team, something he believed happened with Trinity on Sunday afternoon.

“I don’t think it makes it more frustrating. As we’ve seen, it can galvanise teams in the Super League and the NRL. doesn’t always mean extra anything, but we just didn’t play well enough, clearly, collectively and individually, just nowhere near the standard.

“We’ve had a lot of close games this year where Yeah, that’s the first thing of sport that you want to be in the contest, but our ability to, some games start games, other games finish games, it’s not been good enough.”