Leeds Rhinos Playoffs Confidence Amid Coaching Change

Rugby League News: Leeds Rhinos Confident in Playoffs Despite Coaching Change

Rohan Smith, the former Leeds Rhinos head coach, has expressed his belief that the team can still make the playoffs, despite his departure from the Super League club. Smith’s exit was confirmed on Wednesday, just two days before the Rhinos’ upcoming home game against Leigh Leopards.

In a statement, Smith acknowledged the timing of the decision, noting that it was made to remove any ongoing coaching speculation and allow the club to focus on celebrating the life of legendary player Rob Burrow. He stated, “Friday will be a special night for the club, and we wanted to remove the ongoing coaching speculation and distraction. Celebrating Rob’s life, the great work done by the club and Kev for the MND community and playing well is the focus for Friday.”

Smith, who had been in charge at Headingley for just over two years, believes the Rhinos have assembled a roster capable of pushing for a playoff spot in 2024. He said, “I had always stated that it was a long-term project to establish a team that will be able to have sustainable success, and I believe that we have assembled a roster that can continue to push for a 2024 playoff spot.”

The decision to part ways with Smith comes just days into the tenure of the club’s new sporting director, Ian Blease. Blease acknowledged Smith’s respect within the organization and emphasized the need to manage the change carefully. He stated, “Whilst I have only arrived at the club recently, I have seen from my meetings with the rugby staff and players how well respected Rohan is. We must manage this change carefully so the players can focus fully on their performances, starting this Friday against Leigh.”

Blease also revealed that the search for a new head coach has already begun, with the goal of finding a “talented and suitable” candidate to “take the club into a new era.” In the interim, assistant coaches Chev Walker and Scott Grix will lead the Rhinos against Leigh this Friday.

The Rugby League community will be keen to see how the Rhinos navigate this transition and whether they can indeed maintain their push for a playoff spot in the 2024 season, as Smith believes.

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