What emotional Rohan Smith said to his Leeds Rhinos players after defeat to St Helens

For any coach, losing is never easy. So, losing on the biggest stage is the hardest thing of all.

It’s reminiscent though of the phrase, ‘it is better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all’ in so far as it is better to get to the Grand Final and lose than not ever sample the Theatre of Dreams.

Nonetheless, the pain of losing a Grand Final is there for all to see whenever the final whistle sounds in the season decider.

Tears are often shed and players are frequently stunned into silence as they reluctantly collect their runners-up medals.

It is very rare that we get an insight into how these emotions are managed as the players make their way to the dressing room and speak to their coach.

But this year beaten Grand Finalists have shed some light on what happened in their changing rooms after their 24-12 defeat to St Helens in their brilliant video series, Behind the Game.

The video depicts, among other things, what Head Coach Rohan Smith said after the game and it was inspiring, emotional and respectful.

He said: “Obviously is going to reflect on that performance, me included. We had a proper dig, we played together and stuck in there.

“Wind the clocks back a few months, doesn’t make it any easier, it hurts I know it does. Reflect on the game when you need to when the time is right but make sure you reflect on the journey too. Embrace that because you won’t go on a journey like that again – the rollercoaster that was.

“Well done. It hurts, but who would you rather be? Would you rather be a week into your holiday already. There’s lots you can say at this time of year. I really want to say thank you for embracing the change and particularly for those who aren’t going to be here with us moving forward. It’s a tough business, we have to make decisions. It’s nothing personal and I know some people made their own choices but I wanted to acknowledge how people have gone about their work even when they know they’re moving on. You’ll only ever be this group once.

“Thank you let’s make sure you get around and thank each other, we’ll never be us and let’s embrace it.”

An insight into Smith’s brilliant man management and the respect he has for those leaving the club.

Perhaps the perfect comments needed as Leeds hope to go one better in 2023.

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