Leeds Rhinos boss explains Corey Johnson role, praises Jack Sinfield after 26-0 loss at Catalans Dragons

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Coach Rohan Smith has explained a selection decision in Leeds Rhinos’ 26-0 defeat at Catalans Dragons.

Hooker/half-back Corey Johnson was named in Rhinos’ 17 for the first time this season and brought on for the final few minutes, in place of full-back Lachie Miller. Johnson, who is out of contract this autumn, joined Bradford Bulls in February on what was announced at the time as a season-long loan, but played only once before suffering a head injury in a Rhinos reserve game.

Explaining why Miller was substituted, Smith said: “I wanted to give Corey a couple of minutes at the back end there. Corey has had a really tough time of late with an extended break because of concussion and a few other bits and pieces.

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“I am really proud of the way Corey has stuck at it. He was on the bench to cover us in the backs if something went wrong, given the amount of personnel we’ve got missing in the outside-backs particularly. I was happy to give him a couple of minutes there to say ‘well done’ for applying himself over the last little period.”

Leeds Rhinos' Corey Johnson. Picture by Steve Riding.Leeds Rhinos' Corey Johnson. Picture by Steve Riding.
Leeds Rhinos' Corey Johnson. Picture by Steve Riding.

The coach confirmed Johnson’s spell on loan at Bulls has now ended. “He won’t be going back to Bradford,” he said.

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Smith also praised 19-year-old half-back Jack Sinfield. He made one error which led to a Catalans try, but Smith said: “He’s a spirited young fella who competes hard. He’s a great kid, he has grown a lot and improved and done a lot of good things in the last couple of weeks.

“He won’t be the first or last half-back to throw an intercept or a loose pass that costs his team a try. Some great players have done that, he will learn from it and did learn from it. He was in the same position a couple of times after that and dealt with it much better. I am proud of Jack and the way he has attacked it the last couple of weeks.”

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