By LOUIS CHAPMAN-COOMBE
CAMERON SMITH says the Leeds captaincy “carries a lot of history” as he prepares the lead the club into the new season.
The loose-forward will skipper the team when they begin their Super League season at home to Salford this Friday.
Smith, 25, now joins a prestigious list of Rhinos captains including Kevin Sinfield, Ellery Hanley, Iestyn Harris and Danny McGuire, and he told the League Express he understands the weight the role can carry.
He said: “I understand how big this club is and it carries a lot of history, and the calibre of captains that it’s had before.
“It’s pretty crazy for me to be speaking as a captain. I’m super grateful that I’ve got the role and my family are really proud. It’s amazing.
“I’ve always been a leader within the team. Even as a kid, I’d always want the best for everybody else.
“I just think I’ve naturally come into the role based on my qualities around the squad and wanting other people to flourish.”
Smith has spent his entire career at the Headingley outfit, coming through the famed academy. He made his senior debut aged just 16, and has established himself as a key man in the team.
His stellar performances saw him named as one of the players in the wider captaincy group, alongside Ash Handley and Mikołaj Olędzki, last season, and he says he will still lean on those senior players this year.
“We’ve got a number of lads who have different leadership qualities and I’m very fortunate that I’ve got those guys to lean on.
“Last year, Rohan gave me a little bit of responsibility alongside Ash, and the dynamic is still the same now. It’s just that I’ve got a ‘C’ next to my name. I’ll be approaching it the exact same as I’ve done before.
“My job is to get the collective firing and that will hopefully help win us games.”
Leeds were rarely firing last season, as inconsistent performances and some high-profile exits saw them condemned to an eighth-placed finish, but Smith says they have wiped the slate clean this year.
“The people that have come in are really good people and they understand that we have to start well,” he said.
“Even though the season’s not won in the early rounds, we spoke about starting with some intent and really kick our season off.”