Rohan Smith likens Super League to football after Sam Lisone sin-bin during Leeds Rhinos defeat

Leeds Rhinos boss Rohan Smith.

Rohan Smith, head coach of Leeds Rhinos. Photo by Touchlinepics/Alamy Live News.

Leeds Rhinos coach Rohan Smith has suggested rugby league is becoming similar to football in some respects after another controversial night of disciplinary decisions during their defeat at Hull Kingston Rovers.

The Rhinos slipped to their first loss of 2024 on Thursday evening after losing 22-12 at the Robins. Leeds battled well throughout but were ultimately undone by Rovers on a night when fullback Lachlan Miller withdrew just minutes before kick-off.

But the big talking point surrounded discipline once again. There were three yellow cards, all providing various degrees of debate about their validity. Peta Hiku was sin-binned for holding down in the early moments of the match, before James Donaldson was also sent to the sin-bin later in the half following a tackle on Oliver Gildart that some felt could have easily been a red card.

Then Rhinos forward Sam Lisone became the third player to be sin-binned on the night, after a high shot on Rovers captain Elliot Minchella. With Lisone off the field, Rovers put the contest to bed, turning a 14-12 lead into a 22-12 victory with a try from Hiku and two goals from the boot of Jez Litten.

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And it was the third of those sin-binnings which Smith appeared to question post-match on Sky Sports. When asked for his thoughts on the incident, he said that rugby league is ‘like football almost in some ways’ – stating he feels some players are making more of challenges than they perhaps should.

Smith said: “It’s the way the game is now. Anyone feels contact there, they’re making it look worse than it is I think. It’s like football almost in some ways. It was a high tackle, and we respect that it should have been a penalty. All the coaches think, is that a yellow card?

“We’re talking about duty of care of players and we’re asking 12 men to do the job of 13. That one.. I’m not sure.”

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