Salford spot early Leeds frailties under new Rhinos boss Rohan Smith

George Riley
Leeds Rhinos players Rohan Smith

Leeds Rhinos have changed the way they are playing just one match in to the Rohan Smith era, which has made them vulnerable defensively.

That’s according to Salford forward Elijah Taylor whose side handed Smith defeat in his first match in charge of the Rhinos last weekend. 

The Red Devils dominated the game and ran out 23-8 winners against a Leeds side featuring the returning Zak Hardaker and Richie Myler.

Taylor says his team-mates could already notice changes in the Leeds approach. They defeated the Rhinos in March in what would prove to be Richard Agar’s final game in charge.

“Leeds have definitely changed the way they are defending because we expected them to jam, their centres and wingers to jam out of the back but they weren’t,” the loose forward explains on this week’s Love Rugby League Podcast.

“Instead they were sliding and that caught us by surprise. We played on that and went out of the back to make easy metres or a line break so obviously defensively they have changed the way they defend.”

OFF-CONTRACT: Elijah Taylor says he would love to stay at Salford

Quality will shine through at Leeds under Rohan Smith

Taylor believes these defensive frailties may take time to correct but insists the quality in the Rhinos side will shine through as soon as the players start to adapt to the new methods and plays of their new head coach. And going forward they remain a danger to the sides above them in Super League.

“Attacking-wise they were still strong with Zane Tetevano and Bodene Thompson,” he added. 

“They are strong ball carriers. Their attacking shape was good but defensively they were different so that is definitely something Rohan has brought in and it will take time for them to gel.”

Taylor was speaking at the launch of the Tackle The Tough Stuff round of Super League fixtures as the sport links up with charity Rugby League Cares to raise awareness of issues surrounding mental health and wellbeing. Salford host Castleford on Friday night.

PODCAST: Tackle the Tough Stuff featuring Paul Wood, Peter Mata’utia & Elijah Taylor