Leeds boss Rohan Smith says he is proud of his side and their journey in the 2022 season following their 24-12 Grand Final defeat to St Helens at Old Trafford.
Leeds were battling at the bottom of the table prior to Smith’s arrival in April, landing from North Devils in Australia.
The Rhinos found a new lease of life under the 41-year-old Australian and cemented a play-off spot in the final game of the season, defeating Castleford to secure fifth place.
A dejected head coach in his post-match press conference following the defeat at the Theatre of Dreams, Smith said he was proud of the journey he and his players and staff have been through.
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“We showed a lot of effort and played all the way through to the end. I’m proud of the journey and certainly the effort that we put into tonight’s performance,” Smith said.
“I couldn’t be prouder of the staff and the players at the way we’ve pulled together and done some great things.
“We’ve won a lot of games with memorable performances. The effort and the connection and the trust, the way people have stuck together and galvanised and cared for each other and played some decent footy as well.
“But you’re here to win it. We were clearly the second best team tonight.
“The pre-season will give us a chance to establish a bit more of a different identity and expand on what we’ve done the past couple of months.
“There’s worse places to be than here tonight but at the same time everybody is hurting. We thought we’d have enough to do a little bit better.”