'Atmosphere killer': Leeds Rhinos boss Rohan Smith left exasperated by long delays in Salford Red Devils win

Rohan Smith was left exasperated by the number of long delays in Friday's game against Salford Red Devils despite seeing Leeds Rhinos make a winning start to the new Super League season.

Ash Handley celebrated his 28th birthday with a double – the highlight a stunning 90-metre solo effort – and Sam Lisone crashed over for the decisive try as the Rhinos came from behind four times at Headingley.

Three players were sin-binned in a stop-start contest, with Smith particularly irked by the time it took the officials to adjudicate on a hit by Paul Momirovski on Chris Atkin that eventually earned the Rhinos debutant a yellow card.

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"It’s an atmosphere killer," said Smith. "You go and make another pot of tea at home if you’re watching that.

"I’m all for player safety. There’s nobody that I’ve come across that looks after player safety as well as we are in this club, but like how many replays were there of Momirovski’s tackle? If you have to look at that many, are you conclusive?

"Initially it wasn’t called a penalty so they’ve overruled the initial call on the back of 20 to 30 replays and everyone’s got their breath back, the attrition’s completely gone out of the game and we’re still not 100 per cent sure if he’s got it right."

It is a bright new era for Super League with every game broadcast live for the first time.

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Smith fears for the spectacle on the evidence of the opener at Headingley.

Rohan Smith was frustrated despite a winning start for Leeds. (Photo: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com)Rohan Smith was frustrated despite a winning start for Leeds. (Photo: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com)
Rohan Smith was frustrated despite a winning start for Leeds. (Photo: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com)

"I can’t accept that’s the way we’re going with it," he added. "He didn’t hit him in the head, that was clear very early in the piece.

"The game is about attrition, it’s about tough blokes getting up and playing on. Of course, if someone’s got a neck injury, concussion or a bone sticking out you take care of the player, 100 per cent.

"We stopped for a bloke doing his boot up. We should be talking about a good game of footy, which it was for round one, but it went for an hour and 55 minutes."

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