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Rohan Smith ready to stamp “identity” onto Leeds Rhinos as he strives to go one better in 2023

Rohan Smith has worked wonders at Leeds Rhinos in 2022.

He took over at Headingley with the Rhinos in peril and relegation a real possibility. However, a run in which the Rhinos only lost five league games under Smith, Leeds reached the Grand Final for the first time in five years in the most unlikely journey to the Grand Final we have ever seen in Super League.

He won 10 of 11 games on the road to Old Trafford downing highly fancied second place Wigan in the semi-finals to meet Champions St Helens in the Grand Final.

It wasn’t to be at the Theatre of Dreams for Leeds losing 24-12 but there’s still plenty to be positive about at Headingley none more so than the fact Smith can now establish a real identity at Leeds.

“Coming in at May, you’ve got to do bits and get a shift in performance,” Smith said, “We’re gonna have a pre-season which will give us a chance to establish a bit more of an identity.

“It’s difficult to make significant change when you’re playing ever five days but we’ve made some change and we’re really pleased to get here.

“Next year is a long time away. We weren’t here to make up on the numbers and give our best. I’ll be reflecting on the week. The week was enjoyable no one was stressed, it was pretty calm.

“I’ll reflect on some processes and decisions on gameday, interchanges and that sort of thing over the next month or so. Next year is a clean slate. This years performances won’t count next year.”

Nonetheless, Smith and co were still hurting at the end of the Grand Final on Saturday because they believed they could win: “We’re in it try and win it, there are worse places to be other than here but everyone is hurting because we thought we had enough to do a bit better.”

However that belief will serve them well going into 2023.

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