Rohan Smith’s Leeds Rhinos side has a very unique approach to games though it’s gone under the radar.
The Rhinos don’t defend like typical teams. They’re willing to give teams more space than they need, allowing them to make metres backing their ability to scramble to deny any openings and have the attacking skill to go up the field with ease.
We’ve seen this especially in recent weeks with Leeds producing stunning defence to hold out against long periods of pressure against Salford, Hull KR and Warrington Wolves to force their way into the top five.
This style means that the usual markers teams look at when breaking down performances aren’t important to Rohan Smith.
So what stats are, well it turns out not many as Smith revealed his stance on stats whilst revealing one pretty amazing stat from Leeds’ win over Warrington as he disproves a common rugby league hypothesis.
“The only number that matters is a letter. I’m very process orientated but getting the result at the end of the day is what we’re chasing.
“There’s a bunch of numbers that I look at, Warrington had 40 more plays than us in the second half. Possession is irrelevant. We lost the play count significantly last week and still won. The old saying you’ve got to have the ball more than the other team is just not true, it hasn’t been true for a long time.
“You’ve got to find different ways, sometimes it’s not going your way. We collect a lot of numbers and we lean on them when we need to or want to but at the end of the day if you’re complimenting your attack and your defence and you’re in the arm wrestle, then you’re in the game.
“Stats are supportive rather than definitive might be the way of framing it.”
So, Warrington had 40 more plays than Leeds in the second 40 meaning they had about seven more sets of six than Leeds, and yet the Rhinos were still able to hold onto the win.
This just confirms the notion that Leeds’ approach under Rohan Smith doesn’t apply to the traditional markers for victory including the idea of possession being key.
In Smith’s mind, it’s about what his team does in individual plays rather than their statistical approach.