The history books will tell you that Leeds defeated Hull KR 28-20 last night to take a three point lead on the Robins in the play-off race, but that only tells have the story of the Rhinos’ win last night.
Leeds had lost four players going into the game three through bans and James Bentley through injury and in the opening exchanges lost two more to injury and were down to one sub when Harry Newman limped off.
The Rhinos even spent 10 minutes down a man on the field when Mikolaj Oledzki was sin binned. But despite all of this and trailing 14-6 early on, Leeds still came away with the win.
After the game, coach Rohan Smith praised his side for being collected in this carnage: “It was a brave performance, we lost a few early in the week due to that stuff and we lost two forwards early in the game which makes it a real challenge and losing another as the game dug in.
“Everyone dug in and we found a way again. I thought we were pretty calm under all the chaos.”
He did however note that it was been suspensions – not injuries – which have made his side so unsettled in terms of personnel: “It’s been suspensions mostly. I’m all for player safety, that’s for sure but we’ve been restricted by what we can do to select a team. There’s never an excuse, sometimes there’s reasons but never any excuses.”
He then went on to reveal that Cameron Smith and Bodene Thompson were sent to hospital in Wakefield with Smith expected to need some immediate work on his thumb: “Cameron and Bodene are in an ambulance on their way to a hospital in Wakefield to be reassessed especially Cam whose got a thumb injury which may need some work on it, I don’t know time frames on that. They can do some special things.
“Bodene had a rib thing. He’s one of the toughest blokes I’ve come across. He was getting ready to come back on at some point but the pain was going through the roof.”
Meanwhile, Smith also gave an update on Harry Newman who picked up a third hamstring injury of the season.
He explained the disappointment Newman was suffering from with a World Cup and play-offs round the corner: “Harry’s done his hamstring. He’s very disappointed, he’s put a lot of work into his body recently. He’s looking strong and fit, working on his game. We’re all disappointed but we’ll wait to see what the verdict of the scan is to see the severity of it and fingers crossed it’s something he can come back from this year.”
Lastly he explained the situation regarding James Bentley who was absent yesterday: “James Bentley is okay. We took him off last week and it settled okay only until he did an opposed session on Wednesday he pulled up a bit grumpy from that. He’s another tough customer but this one was one where he couldn’t push on his foot this morning so we’ll see how that is this week.”
Bentley’s injury coupled with Thompson’s early withdrawal saw Zane Tetevano surprisingly play second-row for the rest of the game.
After the game, Smith praised the veteran front-rower for the role he played in the win: “Zane played 80 minutes through necessity today. Someone asked me if going to be fit, Zane’s a very professional player, very fit. He’s dedicated and he does more recovery prep than anyone I’ve seen.
“He played a lot of edge backrow as a young player, and when he lost to Bodene and I sent the message out if he could play the 80 on the right edge and he said yeah. He’ll be back in the middle next week. A good night for Zane and you could see the fans getting right behind him as well.”