Rohan Smith provides Leeds recruitment latest with Championship stars on radar

Rohan Smith Leeds Rhinos

Leeds Rhinos head coach Rohan Smith insists he is keen to recruit from the Championship and give players an opportunity in Super League.

Smith, 41, led the North Devils in the Queensland Cup, the division below the NRL, before joining Leeds earlier this season. 

He will know more than most the talent that is available outside the top divisions across both Australia and Super League.

Salford’s Deon Cross made the step up this season from Widnes and has had a real impact on the Red Devils under Paul Rowley in his debut year.

And Rhinos boss Smith admits that he is openly looking below the top division for his own recruitment for 2023.

“Certainly. I think it’s a good way to manage your salary cap,” Smith told Love Rugby League.

“There’s a bunch of guys who take time to develop. The NRL has shown that. There’s a bunch of players who have made their debuts at 27 and 28. 

“Jonathan Reuben played at North Devils last year and he made his NRL debut at 29. I think he’s got the record now.

“Makahesi Makatoa for Parramatta played at 28 or 29 making his debut last year and signed a deal from the back of it. 

Rohan Smith: ‘We’ll definitely be looking there’

“People take longer to develop than others. It’s not over if you’re 24 or 25 and playing Championship, not in my eyes anyway. 

“We’ll definitely be looking there.”

Leeds have been linked with Batley’s Luke Hooley and Leigh star Nene Macdonald for the 2023 campaign by Leeds Live. Doncaster’s Leon Ruan has also reportedly earned interest from the Headingley Stadium side

“A lot of those blokes in the Championship could be good Super League squad players if given the opportunity,” Smith continued.

“Players kick on from that opportunity and end up being regular Super League players and internationals. It’s about opportunities and players finding the right environment for them.”

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About Josh McAllister 1909 Articles
Journalist. Joined the Love Rugby League team full time at the start of 2022 having been a freelance reporter for several years. Previously media manager for Swinton and Rochdale.


    • You are correct, Rhinos need to start a season with Super League experienced players who have been coached properly for the new season. It has been a few seasons since they have made a good start to one.

  1. Is it really rubbish.Let’s leave it to the experts shall we.Rohan Smith has turned Leeds around with the same players he inherited,so sit back and enjoy the journey.

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