Losing winning positions had happened too often for previous coach Tim Sheens who was sacked last week.
With relegation a real fear, former Leeds Rhinos, Warrington Wolves and Great Britian chief Smith has been brought in to make sure those narrow defeats turn into victories.
However, in his first game, Rovers fell to a 79th-minute drop goal from Wigan Warriors’ Sam Powell having led going into the final quarter.
“It was a good effort and there’s a lot to work with there,” said Smith, who saw Chris Atkin have a ‘try’ ruled out late on.
“When players are trying hard you can work with that. It could have gone either way. It took a fantastic drop goal from 45 metres out. That’s the difference sometimes.
“I would have liked to see a video ref here as well. That can make a difference too. We’ve looked at the video and thought it (Atkin try) was pretty good. That’s how seasons can be defined sometimes.
“It’s some pretty important stuff. But in terms of the team I’m really proud of their efforts.
“There’s some smarts we need to add to our game and areas we need to improve.
“We talked about that and the players are open and honest about that. It was a good opportunity to pick up two points today but it wasn’t to be.
“This coming week will be my first real week with them so I’m looking forward to it,” he added.
Rovers lost Danny Addy (hamstring) and Kane Linnett (neck) to injuries and had also seen Danny McGuire - who Smith worked with during his golden reign at Leeds Rhinos - pull out in their final practice session.
“I was so looking forward to meeting up with Danny again and coaching him,” said Smith.
“And five minutes into my first session back with him he pulls a calf muscle. It was disappointing and he was disappointed for himself.
“It was a little bit disruptive but it’s been a disruptive week for the players. That’s why I’m thankful of their efforts.
“They’ve had the dismissal of a coach and a new coach come in and a shake-up within the team.
“Both teams had to handle changes throughout the game. We can’t afford to be losing too many players at the moment but we’ll get a couple back next week which is good.”
Smith has been out of the game since leaving Warrington 18 months ago.
“I enjoyed being back in the mix and trying to help a group of people who are trying hard,” he added. “I like whenever they’re trying and putting in the best shifts for each other.
“I can help them in a few areas individually and collectively. We’ll be working on that this week.”