Leeds Rhinos have booked their place in the play-offs with a third consecutive fifth place finish thanks to a 14-8 win over Castleford.
However, for long periods it looked like the Tigers who were set to play play-off rugby especially as they led 8-0 with seven minutes to go until Rhyse Martin notched a penalty. After that Leeds hit them with two terrific tries to take them through to next week’s play-offs where they’ll meet Catalans away for the third time this season.
On making the play-offs, Rohan Smith said after the game: “It’s obviously the goal that everyone sets out for as a minimum, some clubs are probably chasing more than that but it’s good to be there.
“It’s been a tough year for players and staff, there’s been a few bumps in the road and the work that started in November has accumulated to this point.”
In terms of performance, it was far from being Leeds’ best though Smith applauded the bravery of his side and their energy: “There’s a lot of parts of our spots that are about being brave, being tough, hanging in there and pushing through and tackling well and for most of the game we did that but we just lacked any fluency again and didn’t respect the ball today.
“Our energy was pretty decent on a short turnaround and travel which is somewhat more difficult. It was a good battle, that’s how a regular season should finish.”
He then went on to dissect how Leeds were able to get the win in the end despite the struggles of the first 73 minutes: “It was probably skill in the end that got us a couple of tries, character help us in there but it was never going to be character to let us down.
“I knew it was going to be a tough hard game.
“I was very frustrated, I don’t usually get frustrated. I’m usually looking for the answer but I didn’t really have any today other than try and finish some sets with composure. I felt our energy was good, we scrambled enough in defence. Any time you only concede one try you’ve had a pretty good defensive performance.
“I said after the penalty goal ‘I think we’ll still score two tries’ because our energy was still good and took a boost from only needing one score.
“I did send the message out about 28 times. We were struggling to get one score so to take an easy one made sense to me.”