Right place, right time: Leeds Rhinos' revival down to the players not me says coach Rohan Smith
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Friday’s 28-20 win at Hull KR was Leeds’ eighth in their 12 games under Smith, after three victories from 12 matches this year before he took over.
Rhinos defied a host of injuries and battled back from 10-0 and 14-4 down to record a fourth successive win and Smith said: “I am certainly proud of the players.”
He stressed: “When you are coming into a group mid-season you don’t know exactly what to expect, but I had done enough homework to know things weren’t that bad, despite maybe what the ladder said or people external to the club.
“I think the group were okay, there’s plenty of talent in there and a reasonable amount of depth.
“Maybe I just got here at the right time, with people coming back from injury and suspension.
“The group was already a good one.
“The work that has been done from the start of last pre-season and everything in between, that’s the journey - it’s not just these last couple of months.”
The coach saluted two players who won’t be at the club next year for their efforts against Rovers.
Hooker Brad Dwyer’s try began Leeds’ fightback and Muizz Mustapha put in a huge effort as a substitute prop in a rare senior appearance.
Neither has been offered a deal for next year and Smith said: ”Brad is playing really well.
“Whatever his role is - bench or starting - he is taking it in his stride and playing a good brand and a good style and enjoying himself.”
He added: “I am really proud of Muizz.
“He got a long ban for an accident gone wrong and he used that time to renovate and rebuild his game.
“He didn’t put his head down, he worked on his game.
“I was really proud of what he did the other week, when he played a little cameo against Wigan.
“He went to Bradford to play last week and get a bit more game time on [on Friday] he had to step up big time and he did.
“It shows there is some depth in this squad.
“We have been restricted in what we can do to select a team, but there’s never an excuse.
“Sometimes there’s reasons for maybe not playing as well as you’d like, but never an excuse, never any chat about who’s not playing.
“It’s always about who is playing and we’ve done that a few times now.”