Today marks a significant day in Leeds’ season.
They finally take a spot in the top six despite their terrible start to the season which saw them flirt with relegation for so long.
The spot comes courtesy over previous sixth place holders Salford and also sees Leeds mathmatically confirmed for Super League next year now with an 11 point lead over Toulouse with just five games to play.
At one stage the relegation battle was going to be a real scrap for Leeds but today shows just how much they’ve cruised to safety and why they’re in the play-off mix.
The win came courtesy of a quick start which saw Harry Newman score a lovely opening try before Richie Myler and Rhyse Martin pushed Leeds out to 18-0 ahead.
Salford battled back and Leeds showed great resilience and in the end claimed a 34-14 win with a second from Martin coming after a game breaking try from skipper Ash Handley.
Though we could praise the players, today feels like the right day to truly praise Rohan Smith.
Not only is it a day of two impressive landmarks on the league ladder for his side but his first game was a defeat to Salford and today Leeds turned that result on its head.
After the game we asked Smith about the difference between today and that defeat and this was his response as he praised his side for finding new ways to win: “Both teams have come a long way in that period of time. Salford are a good team and very well coached.
“I spoke to the team when I first got here about being willing to win different ways. I do like to encourage people to pass the ball and play as a team and help to not be too rigid in how we play but today I think it was our defence more than anything.
“Being able to lean on your defence is absolutely critical in the big games. I love the defensive side of the game as well as the attack. Some weeks you’re not going to get all aspects of your game at the standard that you want but today we got enough of our attack and enough D to be the better team.”
Smith the man to take us forward
I said it last week and I will do so again. Rohan Smith has proven that he should have our trust.
Not only are Leeds playing great rugby under him, but the Rhinos have shown amazing character the last two weeks in antithetical performances: in one coming back and the other holding on.
The Rhinos aren’t the finished article as today’s wobble mid game showed but the character and skill is truly there.
In Rohan we trust.