Rohan Smith speaks on Leeds Rhinos’ appeal process for Matt Prior and Harry Newman charges

Yesterday in his pre-match press conference, Rohan Smith spoke a lot about the current situation surrounding his squad.

He revealed that Blake Austin is in line to return next week, that Aidan Sezer may feature against Wigan or the week after having picked up a hand injury of his own and that Tom Briscoe is still a few weeks away from a return.

Smith also explained the thinking behind the loan signing of Yusuf Aydin from Wakefield which came out of the blue yesterday.

Unsurprisingly, he underlined that it was the number of forwards Leeds have suspended that drove this decision.

The Rhinos were already going to be without Zane Tetevano, Tom Holroyd and Muizz Mustapha due to bans for their big game against Toulouse but now Matt Prior has joined them for a charge which occurred against Castleford at the Magic Weekend.

That was seemingly the tip of the iceberg in terms of deciding to bring Aydin in especially with Leeds failing in their appeal to change the grading of the offence – which was taking out the kicker late and causing flexion of the neck – from a Grade B to a Grade A.

They were unsuccessful and yesterday Rohan Smith opened up on the process behind their appeal.

“We used a comparison in that hearing that we deemed a lot more forceful than Matt’s,” Smith said, “The footage was shown and the panel acknowledged that the other was a lot more forceful that was a Grade A but decided that Matt’s was Grade B still.”

There’s no doubt that this seems a touch strange. Are they saying the other incident was incorrectly charge or perhaps there has been a change of stance on ruling since the incident Leeds used.

Without knowing the incident in question it’s impossible to tell but this again demonstrates the bad luck Leeds have had with disciplinary this year. In some ways they only have themselves to blame but you also have to acknowledge a touch of bad luck.

At least this time no extra game was added with the appeal deemed as ‘frivolous’ as was the case with Harry Newman.

Leeds of course appealed the extra game given as punishment for this ‘frivolous appeal’ and Smith also explained the process behind this: “We thought it was perhaps worthy of a different charge. We didn’t feel like it was an unreasonable challenge they did and added an extra week so we just contested that actual process of ‘frivolous.’”

No luck Leeds

Both demonstrate Leeds’ poor luck with the disciplinary panel in 2022.

Yes the Rhinos need to do better on the field with Newman’s offence silly at best and at worst something we really don’t want in our game.

However, when you look at Leeds’ record with appeals, it is woeful this year which demonstrates some poor luck but also perhaps a need for Leeds to take a look at how they approach them.

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