How Rohan Smith is looking to get the best out of Blake Austin at Leeds Rhinos

Rohan Smith is looking forward to getting the best out of Blake Austin, as a long-time admirer of the Leeds Rhinos playmaker.

The Australian halfback recently signed a contract extension with the club for 2023, despite a mixed start to his time at Headingley since signing from Warrington Wolves at the end of last year.

Head coach Smith, who took charge of Leeds at the beginning of May, believes there is huge potential in his compatriot to be unlocked.

“I’ve followed Blake’s career for a long time,” said Smith.

“I’ve sort of crossed paths with him a few times, I’ve coached against him several times back home, and I know his game quite well.

“I’ve always had a high opinion of him as a player so I look forward to building a player-coach relationship and seeing what we can do.

“I’ve had lots of small conversations with him. We have quick chats in and around training about various different things.

“He’s a thinker of the game, he loves his Rugby League. He’s got good ideas and I love bouncing things off him.

“I’ve encouraged him to do what he does well. He is a great runner of the ball but he’s also a good passer, and his kicking game has improved over his career as well.

“He’s found a good balance of putting all those together, and not feeling like he had to do everything, just doing his part for the team.”

Austin in turn has been pleased with impact of Smith on himself and the team, as he revealed when agreeing his contract extension.

“I have enjoyed working with Rohan Smith,” said Austin, who could be reunited with Aidan Sezer in the halves at St Helens on Thursday after Sezer’s absence of almost three months with a groin injury.

“Everyone I spoke to, who knew him from Australia, held him in high regard and he is having a big influence on the squad overall.”

Meanwhile, prop Matt Prior is a doubt for the Saints clash after picking up a sternum injury while playing for the Combined Nations All Stars.

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