Leeds Rhinos coach Rohan Smith backs James Bentley amid new ban worry

Rohan Smith has his sights set on a second win as Leeds coach at Warrington on Friday week, but he could have to do it without forward James Bentley.

The close-season signing from St Helens is sweating over a possible third ban of the season after being yellow carded during the 24-6 win over Wakefield, coach Smith’s first match at Headingley.

Bentley, who scored two tries against Trinity, has already served four and two-match suspensions for illegal challenges during the Rhinos’ opening game against Warrington and last month’s clash against Castleford respectively.

The 24-year-old was sent to the sinbin after half an hour for a late challenge on Thomas Minns, with Trinity scoring their only try during his absence.

Smith, who coached Bentley at Bradford, said: “I thought he had an excellent game. He had a good balance of competing hard and being very effective in what he did.

“I haven’t seen a close-up of the challenge, just a slightly wider angle, and it didn’t seem like it had too much in it.

“It’s a fine line. It’s a combat sport, and it’s a matter of managing your own thoughts and having a level of competitiveness that is appropriate for the moment.

“He is a young man with big aspirations and drive to do well. He needs to continue to work on when to do what.”

While beaten 23-8 away to Salford in his first match at the helm, third-bottom Leeds have now won three of their last four, and the ex-Norths Devils chief added: “I’m excited for the opportunity to get the next one. That’s how I’m wired.

“I’m really privileged to be at this club. I feel happy and glad to be part of it.

“We had a good two weeks of preparation to get that performance with a little mishap (the Salford game) in between.

“It took a little while to secure the result, but there’s nothing wrong with a grinding win.”

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