Sky Sports pundits attack Leeds Rhinos dropout policy as Rohan Smith addresses controversial play

Aaron Bower
Lachlan Miller, Leeds Rhinos

Sky Sports pundits Jon Wilkin and Jamie Jones-Buchanan attacked Leeds Rhinos’ policy for short dropouts after their defeat to Huddersfield on Friday: with head coach Rohan Smith insisting their decision to attempt one with the game level at 24-24 was the wrong move.

Leeds were level with the Giants before Lachlan Miller inexplicably attempted to go short from a dropout, failing to reach ten metres and allowing Jake Connor a simple conversion to nudge Huddersfield ahead. The Giants ultimately won the game 30-24 thanks to a late Adam Clune try.

But speaking after the game, both Wilkin and Jones-Buchanan were furious at Leeds’ attempts to “shortcut” their way through games.

Jones-Buchanan insisted: “You saw the response from Matt Frawley. There was a lot of disappointment. I’d love to see the replays of all the short dropouts in this season and see how may come up with fruit. I’m not seeing many at all.

“It’s all about context isn’t it. There were some brilliant plays early on from Leeds, but when you’re at that time in the game and that position in the scoreboard, you’ve got to not take any shortcuts, do the hard yards and come up with the field position to get the win.”

Wilkin agreed, going as far as suggesting Leeds failed to properly respect their opposition and the game itself.

He said: “The short dropout and what gave them the opportunity to go into the Leeds.. it’s a shortcut.

“You’re trying to shortcut a way of getting the ball back, rather than being respectful of the game and your opposition.. kick it long, chase hard and be respectful of the game that you’re playing. Sometimes I feel like those short trick plays, you’re trying to shortcut your way back in and that’s not the way for Leeds.”

Their comments were also echoed by Smith, who insisted afterwards that Miller’s short dropout attempt was the wrong play to execute at that stage in proceedings.

He said: “You don’t do that at 24-24. “If you’re behind you have a go, but at that stage, you kick it long.. I can understand why it might have crossed the mind, but that wasn’t the right play.”