Leeds Rhinos v Leigh Leopards: Rohan Smith aims to end difficult week on high as he spells out play-off ambition

Rohan Smith has not given up on Leeds Rhinos' play-off dream but accepts they must make their move now.

The Rhinos have four points to make up in the final seven rounds after suffering narrow defeats to Hull KR and St Helens.

Leeds' cause has not been helped by the loss of Blake Austin and Richie Myler, which has left Smith with an inexperienced spine for the run-in.

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The Australian, however, remains optimistic ahead of tomorrow's home date with Challenge Cup finalists Leigh Leopards.

"There are two ambitions," said Smith. "Every day we all wake up with the ambition of making the play-offs and having a go at it but the more immediate one is getting that ball rolling.

"The only way to make the play-offs is to play well regularly. That has to start on Sunday.

"A good performance gets us a result most of the time and a very good performance gets us a result every time. That's what we're striving for."

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In contrast to Hull KR who made 13 changes for their Wembley warm-up against Wigan Warriors, Leigh have named a strong squad for the trip to Headingley.

Rohan Smith has called on the Rhinos to make their move. (Photo: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com)Rohan Smith has called on the Rhinos to make their move. (Photo: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com)
Rohan Smith has called on the Rhinos to make their move. (Photo: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com)

Luke Hooley is in line for his home debut for the Rhinos after Myler was ruled out for six to 10 weeks with a foot injury, while Jack Sinfield could be drafted in to replace Austin following his shock switch to Castleford Tigers.

Hooley, who endured a chastening experience in his only previous outing against Hull KR in March, is match ready after a productive spell in the Championship with former club Batley Bulldogs.

"Bad news generally comes in clusters," said Smith.

"With those sudden situations that came back to back, we've got some kids there that are looking to step forward.

Blake Austin has swapped Leeds for Castleford in a shock switch. (Photo: Ed Sykes/SWpix.com)Blake Austin has swapped Leeds for Castleford in a shock switch. (Photo: Ed Sykes/SWpix.com)
Blake Austin has swapped Leeds for Castleford in a shock switch. (Photo: Ed Sykes/SWpix.com)
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"We've got a few options at half-back. Jack is certainly part of our long-term plans and has moved up the pecking order in our short-term plans as well.

"It's exciting for Jack and the club but he's a young boy and it’s a long-term process with him and not a quick fix.

"We've got a couple of options at full-back and Luke is certainly in the picture. He's been playing some good, tough rugby with Batley and has had some really good performances.

"Luke is in a good position with a good amount of work under his belt now so we'll consider him as one of our options.”

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