Super League legend defends Rohan Smith amid poor form: ‘Players must take responsibility’

Josh McAllister
Rohan Smith Leeds Rhinos Mickael Goudemand News Images

Photo: Craig Thomas/News Images

Super League legend Paul Sculthorpe has come to the defence of Leeds boss Rohan Smith and insists that the players must take some responsibility for the club’s current poor form.

Smith’s Rhinos have lost six of their last seven games, including the Challenge Cup sixth round defeat to Wigan at Headingley Stadium.

Their only victory since the end of April came against Matt Peet’s Warriors the week prior in Super League, with an impressive 40-18 score despite going down to 12-men.

However, other results have included defeats to Salford, Castleford and the dramatic golden point loss to St Helens at home, as well as Wakefield claiming their first win of the season in Super League Round 15.

Speaking on the latest episode of Betfred’s The Last Tackle, two-time Man of Steel winner Sculthorpe has defended head coach Smith, with former Sky Sports commentator Eddie Hemmings believing the 42-year-old Australian is under pressure as the club sit outside the play-offs in eighth position on the Super League table.

Smith arrived at Headingley Stadium midway through the 2022 campaign, turning the club’s season around to lead them to Old Trafford to feature in the Grand Final against St Helens, beating Wigan 20-8 in the semi-finals.

Paul Sculthorpe defends Rohan Smith amid club’s poor form  

“With Wakefield beating Leeds Rhinos, there are now serious questions, I’m told, being asked, probably not by Gary Hetherington, but there are serious questions being asked about the coaching philosophy of Rohan Smith and Leeds,” Hemmings said.

“He’s got to be under pressure. Leeds don’t get to the half way point usually and be in the position that they are now.

“They’re six points off the play-offs.

“How can you come out with 12-men and boss the game the way they did against Wigan [and then lose to Wakefield]. He must be scratching his head Rohan Smith asking what on earth is going on.”

Defending the recently-scrutinised Leeds boss, Sculthorpe responded: “How can you blame the coach when philosophies don’t change week in, week out?

“But when you can turn in a performance like you did against Wigan, and then turn up like they did against Wakefield with the same players, the players have got to take some responsibility.”

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