Leeds Rhinos coach defends “solid” Matt Frawley and insists spine will be given patience

Aaron Bower
Matt Frawley

Matt Frawley in action for Leeds Rhinos in the 2023 'Wetherby Whaler' challenge - Alamy

Leeds Rhinos coach Rohan Smith has described Matt Frawley’s start to life at Headingley as “solid” – and insists Frawley plus the entirety of his new-look spine will be given time to gel together.

The Rhinos head to Castleford Tigers on Thursday night off the back of consecutive defeats to St Helens in both Super League and the Challenge Cup, and Smith has played down any suggestion of making changes to his spine for that game.

Frawley is one part of an entirely new fullback, stand-off, scrum-half and hooker combination at the Rhinos in the off-season alongside fellow new signings Brodie Croft, Andy Ackers and Lachie Miller. But it is Frawley’s performances which have arguably come in for scrutiny more than any other, particularly after the Rhinos’ cup exit over the weekend.

But Smith has stressed he has been pleased with the contribution Frawley has made at Headingley thus far.

“I think he’s been solid,” said Smith.

“On the weekend, there were some moments for sure that he could have done differently or better – but I think he’s contributed to a good vibe around our group and we’ve played some really good, composed, smart footy at stages. He’s certainly been a part of that.

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“We’re a work in progress as a team unit. We need to get better quickly but haven’t been too far away from it against some of the better teams in the competition.”

The likes of Jack Sinfield and Alfie Edgell are potentially waiting in the wings to come in and play if given an opportunity but Smith warned that for now at least, he has complete faith in his new-look spine to deliver.

When asked if Frawley’s position was under threat for Thursday’s trip to Castleford, Smith insisted: “Not at all. We’re committed to the players we’ve got in our spine. They’ll be working hard to play well this week.”

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