Rohan Smith explains the difference between Leeds Rhinos and Hull FC today

Today Leeds came up with their biggest score win since 2009 when they defeated Crusaders 68-0 on their way to the League Leaders’ Shield.

The Rhinos didn’t quite get up to 68 today but their 11 tries saw them score 62 points away at Hull FC in what was a huge game between two struggling sides with fading but still tangible play-off hopes.

Ash Handley was the hero as Leeds surprisingly blew Hull away as he scored five tries. It’s the second time Leeds have come up with a superb attacking display under Rohan Smith after Leeds beat Warrington 40-4 before a recent slump.

Today was a reminder of what Smith’s Leeds can look like and he was very pleased with the performance after the game highlighting the impact of his two assistant coaches on the win.

“It was an important game for us to play well in,” he said, “I really liked how we started the game. We went about things how we practiced and with the plan that Longy out in place.

“We highlighted what their attack might look like, Jonesy did a good job at covering that earlier in the week particularly in getting ourselves set for what was coming.

“The part I particularly liked was how we regrouped after a few things went their way which weren’t really reflected in the actual flow of the game and we recomposed ourselves and got going again. We stayed together and played together.

“I thought our defence at the start of the game set up the process we wanted to go through.”

He also noted that it’s the first time Leeds’ spine has played together and played well in 2022. The Rhinos made big waves when signing Aidan Sezer and Blake Austin and their partnership has yet to click until today: “It’s the first time Kruise, Sezer, Austin have played well together which is a positive step for us.

“The thing I’m trying to promote is the partnership between one, six, seven, nine and thirteen.”

Naturally he also singled out Ash Handley for praise noting his wider contributions outside of the try: “He’s a top end finisher. He’s probably a bit underestimated with how hard he carries the ball out in yardage. He’s a great team guy and a leader. So, it’s nice to see a winger get a bunch of tries to reward the effort. He plays a key part in the behind the scenes stuff through three different coaches. Ash has had a real impact on the group and he’s a great young man.”

Interestingly, he also praised Zak Hardaker who didn’t get over a try but was willing to switch to centre due to the number of players had missing: “Personnel wise I thought it needed to happen this week. We probably weren’t sure what our team was going to look like until midday today but Zak was excited about playing right centre. He’s a good team guy.

“Obviously Myler had a big impact on the game and the parts you probably can’t see is the chat and the glue he connects people with.”

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