Leeds Rhinos: Kruise Leeming – We’re building for something big under Rohan Smith

THE GAME the other day was massively disappointing and I wouldn’t suggest anything else, but I am still positive about the future of this team.

By Kruise Leeming
Tuesday, 17th May 2022, 4:45 pm

It has been a tough first half of the season: we had to get used to Rich Agar’s systems and how he wants to coach; then we had to get used to Jonesy’s systems and when he took over we didn’t start winning straight away.

We had to build something but, after six weeks under Jonesy, we looked pretty good and he finished with back-to-back wins, against Toulouse and Hull KR.

It looked like we were going somewhere, but now we are back to square one with Rohan Smith and his systems.

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Everyone has bought into new coach Rohan Smith's systems and philosophy says Kruise Leeming - but it will take time to implement, he warns. Picture: John Clifton/SWpix.com.

It is going to take us time, but there’s no panic; we were really disappointed to lose at Salford, but we know we are building for something big here.

Hopefully we can be with Rohan for the next 10 years and win a lot of trophies.

This might not be what the fans want to hear at the moment, but it is the truth - we are building something and it is going to take time to get there.

Everything Rohan is doing and saying, all the lads are buying into.

Assistant Leeds Rhinos coach Jamie Jones-Buchanan. Picture: Phil Daly/Leeds Rhinos/SWpix.com.

I really believe in what he is doing, but I know it doesn’t happen overnight.

He is coaching players to be better. We had a video session on Monday and it was honest and to the point.

Sometimes it is hard to listen to; he told everyone what he wants and pointed out the things that weren’t good enough, but it is exactly what we need.

Even though we got the loss, I am still really excited and looking forward to the second half of this season and next year.

Leeds Rhinos' Women's Challenge Cup final try scorer Zoe Hornby. Picture: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com.

We’ve just got to be patient. I know, in sport, everyone wants results now, but we are building for something bigger and that’s what the feeling is in camp.

Everyone is buying in and we all understand where Rohan is coming from.

We - Rohan and I - have spoken at length and he’s one of those coaches who will never tell you to do something without giving an explanation.

He explains everything and there’s no arguing. You can give an opinion but, when it’s there on video and he is backing things up with facts and stats, you have to accept it and say ‘yes, that’s right - I am going to do better next time’.

For me, the positivity comes from the fact it actually feels like we are moving now.

Jonesy did a great job, but we were all waiting for the new coach to come in and now we’ve got some stability.

Sometimes to move forward you have to go three steps backwards and that might happen before things get better, but our ultimate aim is to be one of the top teams and winning trophies regularly.

That doesn’t happen instantly, but Rohan is really positive in what he’s saying and doing and his demeanor is really calm.

He accepts we have got a lot of work to do, but there’s going to come a point where we can tick that box because it has been covered, then tick the next box and, by the time it comes to the end of the year, a lot of boxes will be ticked and we’ll be in a really good place.

We also need results now and Friday against Wakefield is a big game for a lot of reasons: there’s the league table, we have got another two-week gap between games coming up and it’s our last at home for two months.

We need to win this week, there’s no doubt about that but, hopefully, we’ll have some more players back and we will go out there and get the job done.

I want to wish the women’s team good luck for their first Super League game, against Huddersfield, which is being played at Headingley before our match.

The women’s game is really on the up and it’s fantastic to see the Leeds team doing well and getting to finals.

We need to take a leaf out of their book.

We all went and supported them in the Challenge Cup final at Elland Road the other week and we were impressed with the way they - and St Helens - played.

As a club, we want to see them carry on being successful and, hopefully, they can get to this year’s Grand Final and go one step better and bring the trophy back to Headingley.