Sometimes adversity is the best catalyst in sport and Leeds proved that yesterday.
The Rhinos sparked into life when 30-6 behind when Matt Prior was sent off. After his dismissal they scored two quick fire tries through Richie Myler.
Catalans then nailed a penalty goal but Leeds kept the pressure up as Myler notched his hat-trick try before Brad Dwyer went over for an inventive score.
A Rhyse Martin penalty took the game to golden point before an Aidan Sezer dash to the line won the game.
It’s impossible to know what would have happened had Prior not been sent off. Would Leeds have won the game in normal time? Would they have stayed on the same trajectory and lost?
Either way, coach Rohan Smith gave his thoughts on the incident after the game: “You’d have to slow those down and have a look. The one he got sent off for, if you slow it down up close the one angle we have, the player hits him in the chest so Matt has both feet on the ground – not sure.”
Not sure about the incident, Smith was sure about the character his side showed: “There was a lot of spirit in that Toulouse game. Lots of blokes who were 21 or 20 or under or playing at the last minute so I think a lot of today’s success came from how we handled the conditions that day.
“I thought the game wasn’t really reflective of the score there at times, I thought it was a good arm wrestle. Probably the slowest game I’ve seen this year. Extremely slow and a lot of stoppages.”
He also praise the way his side kept running, kept fighting until the very end: “I was excited at the end because we were still full of running. Obviously we prepare to start well but we didn’t quite, we were quite clunky at the start of the game attack wise. We lacked any kind of fluency which didn’t take any petrol out of Catalans.
“But we’ve certainly been training like we can finish games strongly and that certainly came through.”
Smith may have only been in the Headingley hotseat for a matter of months, but he opened up about how much love he already has for his squad: “I love the squad that I’ve got and that’s the way it is. We’ve got the job of trying to build our roster but the deadline is gone for this year but the players I’ve got now I love that group and I have since I arrived.
“It’s a journey. It’s about improving week to week. We still haven’t played with our first choice team.
“I’ve been here 11 or 12 weeks and I haven’t had a first choice team to select from as yet, I’m still hopeful that there is improvement in us.”