Rohan Smith fires defiant message as Leeds Rhinos boss and addresses tension, fan disgruntlement and “seeking support and expertise” from others

LEEDS RHINOS head coach Rohan Smith has outlined his confidence at being able to turn the Headingley outfit around following a number of disappointing results.

The Rhinos currently sit in eighth in the Super League table with five wins from nine games with one of those victories coming against Hull FC last weekend.

The 18-12 win over the Black and Whites was met with great disgruntlement from the travelling Rhinos fans that made the trip to the MKM Stadium.

That being said, Smith is confident he can get the Rhinos fans back on side.

“I’m as hungry as I’ve ever been and love the challenge. I’ve been in coaching for a very long period of time. I made the choice as a very young man with no playing history to take on coaching,” Smith said.

“There’s a bunch of people – including people in my family – that asked me if I was sure I wanted to do that given the nature of it because it is difficult.

“I was speaking to someone at one of my previous NRL clubs in the last few days and they were saying what a journey the whole thing is and can be, and also that every day is an opportunity to try to take the club forward and to improve and learn as an individual.

“I’m striving to get better. I’m seeking support and expertise from people within the club and also some trusted mentors outside the club to help guide me through this period.

“I’ve got a lot of belief and hunger and desire to do well for everyone at the club: the fans, the board and most importantly my own family and the people close to me.”

Smith is confident that the Rhinos will be able to dig themselves out of this hole.

“I am and the players are working hard they are a very united, connected group, but they’re frustrated with themselves and each other at times because they care and want to do well to please the whole Rhinos community. They’re hurting as much as the fans are at times.

“As I’ve mentioned, we’ve played some good stuff and are 5-4. It’s often not as bad as it seems to people and not as good on other occasions.

“No one is satisfied with the performance on the weekend and we feel the frustration of the fans, and totally respect and appreciate that people want to see better for longer. We certainly do, too.”

The Leeds head coach also admitted that some players are feeling that nervous energy from outside.

“Perhaps so for some players – some players feel that energy but most of all, I think players just want to feel like we’re all in it together.

“That includes fans, staff, players, other administration, the board – and players want to feel that everyone is going in the same direction and wanting the same for the Rhinos but maybe some do feel that tension around the place.”

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