Leeds Rhinos boss Rohan Smith reveals Gary Hetherington conversations and verdict on short drop-out fallout

LEEDS RHINOS head coach Rohan Smith has revealed that talks between him and Gary Hetherington take place on a daily occurrence.

The Rhinos boss has been under pressure in Super League 2024 following an inconsistent start to the season, with Leeds winning just four of their opening eight league games.

However, Smith has had no inkling from chief executive Hetherington that his job is in any danger whatsoever.

“Gary and I talk every day, multiple times a day and I’ve heard nothing alternate to me coming in and doing my job for the club,” Smith said.

“We want to do better, we have played some good footy but we need some more results. It’s not the worst position to be in.”

In terms of things to improve on, Leeds have been criticised in recent weeks for using short drop-outs as a way of getting the ball back.

Against the Huddersfield Giants – a game which they eventually lost 30-24 – fullback Lachlan Miller failed to execute a short drop-out with less than ten minutes to go when the score was locked at 24-24.

Smith has reflected on that being the wrong decision, but has stressed that his side will learn from it.

“When they should be used is very circumstantial,” Smith said.

“Clearly on the weekend, we didn’t think that was the time for it. Ironically, some rugby league experts who watched the game thought it may have been a good time to do it because we were struggling to have any real possession.

“Those short drop-outs are really a club-by-club or a case-by-case situation. In that situation, I’m not encouraging or endorsing the short drop-out. It’s something we’ll certainly learn from.”

Smith hinted at potentially bringing in the rule change brought in over in the NRL regarding drop-outs.

“You see in the NRL with the rule change they’ve made where you can’t kick a penalty goal on a failed drop-out, I think it’s 80 per cent of the time, maybe a bit more, that people are going short so there’s obviously some better reward than a 50/50 situation if so many teams are doing it.

“But in that circumstance, we would have encouraged going long. “We’ve talked internally about generally using it when we’ve got great catchers in position, good conditions – as in the wind might be blowing slightly in your face – and sometimes the energy battle of the game.

“Generally, we’ve only gone for short drop-outs and kick-offs when the game has been ahead of us and we’ve needed the ball to be able to score.

“We have chosen to do it a couple of times when we shouldn’t have but we’ll learn from that.”

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