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Rohan Smith hits back at critics after big win over Huddersfield

Leeds Rhinos

Rohan Smith was very pleased with his side’s performance on a special night with Leeds Rhinos legend Rob Burrow in attendance.

The Rhinos dedicated their home clash against Huddersfield on Friday night to Rob Burrow and MND as they continue to try raise more awareness for the disease which their former star player suffers from.

And the emotion of the night inspired Leeds to a much-needed win as they ran rampant against Huddersfield in a 54-0 rout in front of a jubilant Headingley crowd that included their great number seven himself.

It was also an important night for coach Smith though who was coming under increasing pressure after back-to-back defeat to league’s bottom two clubs – Castleford and Wakefield.

Speaking after the game, Smith showed signs of relief, stating:  “It was a really special night,” he said. “Yeah this club does so much more than just worry about winning games in the way that everyone, the club and fans, paid tribute to Rob and his family.

“That was a fitting performance to acknowledge that. Those people are doing things for the greater good, not just focused on the result of the game, but very pleased with how we played.

“More pleased with how we prepared and responded from a disappointing last showing that wasn’t up to standard, but we owned up to it and trained hard, trained with purpose, found a few solutions and you know a lot of things were good tonight.”

The manner of the win was surprising, with Leeds and Huddersfield typically involved in close battles in recent season, including the game at Headingley earlier in the season.

Adding to his earlier comments, Smith said: “In this competition I don’t think you ever see a blowout score coming but a good performance I can always see coming. We’ve had a couple of disappointing performances but even in pretty much every game we’ve been right in there with a chance of a result.

“In professional sport, if you’re in every game, you’re never too far away from something going your way. We need to perform more like a lot of the things we did tonight. Play better for longer is what I’ve been talking about, and that can generate enough results.

“Good results like tonight reinforce or build confidence. For those that needed a reminder in and outside of the building that we are a good team, got that. Those that already knew sort of confirmed that.

“I’m one of the latter but for those that react and respond to results or single performance, you know, a week’s a long time and this competition this year, that’s great. People need to embrace that and enjoy that. You’ve got to play well to win and that’s something I’m glad, privileged to be part of that.”

Smith ended the interview by subtly hitting back at critics as questions have been raised lately about his job, with many believing a bad result on Friday against the Giants could have resulted in the end of his tenure in charge at the Rhinos.

“But, you know, as I said, for those that needed a reminder that we’re a good team in and outside the building, you know, there it was. For those who believed it and for those who didn’t after some bad results.”

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