'Huge honour': New Leeds Rhinos captain Cameron Smith expresses pride at landing job full-time

Cameron Smith has expressed his delight and pride after being confirmed as Leeds Rhinos' full-time captain for the 2024 campaign.
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The 25-year-old academy product shared the role last season as part of Rohan Smith's leadership team.

The loose forward has made 116 Super League appearances for his boyhood club, including 26 as one of Leeds' leading performers in a difficult campaign in 2023.

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Only Huddersfield Giants' Luke Yates made more tackles, while Smith also ranked in the top 10 in the competition for carries.

Smith becomes the Rhinos' eighth full-time captain since Kevin Sinfield's retirement in 2015.

"It is a huge honour and privilege to be made captain of this wonderful club," he said.

"I have been at this club my whole life and understand what this club demands. It is a very proud day for me and my family.

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"I learnt a lot about myself last season. My strength is to bring the best out of other people.

Cameron Smith will lead the Rhinos on a full-time basis this season. (Photo: Ed Sykes/SWpix.com)Cameron Smith will lead the Rhinos on a full-time basis this season. (Photo: Ed Sykes/SWpix.com)
Cameron Smith will lead the Rhinos on a full-time basis this season. (Photo: Ed Sykes/SWpix.com)

"I think I lead by example. I am honest and want the best for everyone else."

Rohan Smith's decision to share the responsibility around in 2023 was met with dismay by some supporters.

The captaincy was a major talking point throughout the campaign with the Rhinos accused of a lack of leadership on their way to an eighth-place finish in Super League.

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Once Smith decided to change his approach and appoint a full-time captain, namesake Cameron was the outstanding candidate.

Cameron Smith takes selfies with fans after victory over Hull FC. (Photo: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com)Cameron Smith takes selfies with fans after victory over Hull FC. (Photo: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com)
Cameron Smith takes selfies with fans after victory over Hull FC. (Photo: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com)

"Cameron is a natural leader within our group and I am pleased for him that he will captain the side," said the Leeds boss.

"I know it means a great deal to him and his family as a one-club man.

"Cameron did a great job with our players last season in tough circumstances at times and I know he will be stronger for that experience.

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"To have stood up as he did last season as a leader whilst producing his best form for the club so far shows how he is thriving in the role.

Brodie Croft, left, and Andy Ackers both joined Leeds from Salford. (Photo: Matthew Merrick Photography)Brodie Croft, left, and Andy Ackers both joined Leeds from Salford. (Photo: Matthew Merrick Photography)
Brodie Croft, left, and Andy Ackers both joined Leeds from Salford. (Photo: Matthew Merrick Photography)

"He is well respected by the squad and coaches alike. I am sure he will do an outstanding job as our captain."

The Rhinos head into the new campaign with renewed optimism after recruiting the likes of Salford Red Devils pair Brodie Croft and Andy Ackers.

Cameron Smith is optimistic Leeds will enjoy a brighter 2024.

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"I have lots of confidence in this group of players for this season," he said.

"We have got a fantastic group who have really bought into what we want to achieve together.

"It is not just about me; we have got a lot of leaders within our group. I will not be approaching games any differently this year just because I have the C next to my name on the teamsheet.

“Pre-season has been really tough so far but very enjoyable. The players who have come in have not just added quality as players but as people as well.

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"You can feel that standards and accountability on the field and in the gym have been lifted."

The Rhinos will round off their 2024 preparations against Hull KR in James Donaldson’s testimonial game on Sunday, February 4 at 2.30pm.