Leeds Rhinos boss Rohan Smith slams “nowhere near the standard” Wakefield Trinity defeat

LEEDS RHINOS went down 24-14 to Wakefield Trinity this afternoon at Belle Vue.

Leeds were second best throughout, even when Trinity went down to 12 men, and head coach Rohan Smith was bitterly disappointed with the result.

“It was a huge disappointment, we let ourselves down against a very spirited team that dug deep and who have competed hard all year,” Smith said.

“We just let ourselves down in that first-half in particular with not executing opportunities. That was the issue this week. It’s not always the same thing or same person so we have to keep chasing the answers.

“Today it was unforced errors in open space that hurt us the most which is not a common issue. We made quite a few inroads in that first-half but didn’t finish it off. I need to change some things and improve.”

Smith also explained the hurt and disappointment in the dressing room following the loss.

“12 men can galvanise teams in Super League and the NRL. The extra man doesn’t always mean extra anything but we just didn’t play well enough collectively and individually. It was nowhere near the standard. You can choose to fight or tap out.

“I feel low after every poor performance and loss. Losses never leave a coach but you tend to carry them with you. There is a lot of hurt and disappointment in me personally and in the dressing room. We were a bad team today, we’ve got it in us to play much better and we will.

“When I got here last year I believed in the players that were here when I arrived, there is a short and long-term aim every week here. You are trying to build for the future as well as win every week. There is talent there, a few weeks ago we had some monumental performances.”

The Leeds boss did have kind words for debutant Leon Ruan, but dismissed ideas that there is a lack of leadership at the club.

“Leon went well, he was ahead of schedule there with the HIA to Nene. He landed on his head. He started with us in July last year whilst playing with Doncaster.

“He works hard and is a terrific young bloke who has worked his whole life to get that opportunity to plat for Leeds. He gave himself a good account of himself on debut.

“I think leadership comes in lots of different forms, some are leading the way by showing the way but you can’t do other peoples’ jobs for them.

“There is a strong voice there when needed with Ash (Handley) and Cameron (Smith) taking a lot of leadership on in the past few couple of months and there are a lot of voices there when needed but you have to own your play and we are accumulating too many poor plays back to back.”

Smith also had no issue with James Bentley being frustrated at being substituted late in the game.

“I’d be more surprised if he was ok with it, he is a great competitor and if players show frustration about being replaced that is no problem to me.

“It is about moving forward onto the task, he won’t be the first or last to be frustrated about being replaced.”