A top-six finish would represent a remarkable achievement for the Robins after they ended up with the wooden spoon in 2020 but Smith says he never had any doubt his team would be competitive this year.
“When we were in pre-season, before a ball was kicked, I thought we had a shot of doing OK this year,” he said.
“I knew they had the right sort of material about them, grit and desire.
“We convinced everybody else to change their minds. I would have been surprised had we not improved a whole lot.
“We’ve put ourselves in a position where we’re at least knocking on the door. We’ll end up where we deserve to end up.”
Hull KR meet Leeds in a crunch clash at Headingley on Friday, with Rhinos coach Richard Agar saying his team are already in play-off mode ahead of the final game of the regular Super League season.
The match is shaping up as a winner-takes-all contest in the battle for the last play-off spot but both teams could find themselves in the top six before kick-off if seventh-placed Castleford lose to Warrington in their last game on Thursday night.
“We’re going out tomorrow to take care of it ourselves regardless of what happens tonight. You can’t rely on other things around you going your way.
“We actually feel like we’re in play-off territory now and the season almost starts again.”
Hull KR’s former Leeds coach Tony Smith says the Castleford result will have “absolutely zero influence” on his team’s preparations.
“I don’t agree there’s dead rubbers,” Smith said. “We want to win and we want to perform well every week, otherwise we’re not enhancing our reputation or our badge. Every week is important.”