Though Leeds Rhinos have booked their place in the Super League Grand Final, the hard work is only just beginning especially for coach Rohan Smith who is going to be tasked with picking a team to win the trophy next week.
Smith will definitely have Rhyse Martin and Morgan Gannon back in the mix whilst Aidan Sezer will also be in contention despite reports he had failed his HIA after a late shot from John Bateman in last night’s semi-final which resulted in a red card for the Wigan backrow.
This will create some headaches for Smith who may not want to change a winning team. On this he said: “I take every decision really seriously and try to really calculate them. It’s hard leaving players out that have earned the right to be there but that’s the nature of being a coach.
“I welcome those sleepless nights. They’re great and awfully difficult at the same time.”
One player who will certainly be on the team sheet, though a bit sore no doubt, will be Mikolaj Oledzki.
Leeds’ only ever-present in 2022, he over came a shoulder injury to play last night and Smith gave an update on him: “I think he’ll be sore, I’m not sure how close he was to not playing. He was running around yesterday like nothing had happened. He was going through some pain in the week but he’s played every week but he wasn’t going to miss it.
“We’ll have to see how it’s pulled up and whether he’ll be right to go again.”
It’s not all good news for Leeds however with Smith confirming that star centre Harry Newman will not play in the Grand Final after a third hamstring injury in 2022. He was included in last week’s 21-man squad, but he has seemingly failed his race against time to play for the Rhinos again this year: “No. Harry won’t play next week.”
Meanwhile wingers Ash Handley and David Fusitu’a are both unlikely according to Smith: “If I had to say now, I’d probably say they’re both not playing.”
This could see veteran Tom Briscoe and youngster Liam Tindall remain on the wings next week, and Smith took time to praise the young Tindall for his performance against the Warriors last night: “Unbelievable. I don’t know how many games he’s played, think about 10 but the best thing about Tindall is nothing much bothers him. He just loves playing with his mates. He’s got belief in himself and we’ve all got belief in him.”