Cameron Smith proud to be Leeds Rhinos captain – but won’t change

CAMERON SMITH says he’ll be just the same player next season despite achieving his long-held ambition of becoming Leeds captain.

The 25-year-old has grown in recent seasons to be one of the Rhinos’ most indispensable players, winning their Player of the Year award for 2023.

He often served as captain on matchdays last season, when head coach Rohan Smith made the unusual choice not to appoint one particular club captain.

But that stance has been overturned for 2024 with loose-forward Smith “super proud” to be given the official role by the club whose Academy he progressed through.

“I’ve been at this club my whole life. I understand what the club demands. As a kid, I’ve always wanted to pursue this role,” said Smith.

“It’s no different for me. It’s pretty easy to get caught up in (the captaincy). I won’t be trying to change anything that I do.

“I’ll continue to lead in the way that I lead, and I’ll be encouraging people to lead in the way they want to lead.

“Doing the toss is probably it for me in the captaincy role!”

Nonetheless, leading the group in 2023 was a big step: “I learned a lot about myself last year.

“Ash (Handley) and I were seen as the leaders in the team, but there are tons of people in this team who lead in different ways.

“I think my strength is to bring the best out in other people, and encourage other people to be leaders.”

Rohan Smith explained why he had decided on his namesake for the captaincy role.

“Cameron did a great job with our players last season in tough circumstances at times and I know he will be stronger for that experience,” said the Leeds coach.

“To have stood up as he did last season as a leader while producing his best form for the club so far shows how he is thriving in the role.

“He is well respected by the squad and coaches alike. I am sure he will do an outstanding job as our captain.”