Rohan Smith gives thoughts on James Bentley incident as he rates first Headingley experience

Rohan Smith savoured his first Headingley experience as Leeds Rhinos head coach but he has quickly turned his attention to claiming win number two.

Rohan Smith enjoyed his first Headingley experience as a coach. (Picture:
Rohan Smith enjoyed his first Headingley experience as a coach. (Picture:

After suffering a losing start at Salford Red Devils last week, Smith guided the Rhinos to a much-needed 24-6 victory over neighbours Wakefield Trinity on Friday night.

Blake Austin's try 15 minutes from time made sure of the result, allowing Smith to take in the occasion.

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"I enjoyed it a lot," he said.

Leeds celebrate James Bentley's try. (Picture: Bruce Rollinson/YP)

"I was pretty calm but tried to take a few moments to take in the atmosphere and the singing, particularly at the back end of the game to make sure it's etched in the memory.

"Most of the game you're focused on what's happening between the white lines but yeah, it was nice."

There is little chance of Smith basking in the glory of a first win in Super League with the 41-year-old already looking ahead to the trip to Warrington Wolves after the break.

When asked what the overriding emotion was, he replied: "I'm excited for the next opportunity to get win number two. That's pretty much how I'm wired.

Blake Austin goes over for a try against Wakefield. (Picture: Bruce Rollinson/YP)

"I feel happy and glad to be part of it. I'm real privileged to be at this club."

Smith tinkered with his spine against Wakefield, moving Zak Hardaker to full-back and partnering Austin with Richie Myler.

It was a move that paid off with Hardaker and Austin in particular having a big say.

"As a combination, there's plenty of work to be done there," said Smith. "As individuals, I thought they all contributed really well.

"Where I'd like our spine to go, there would be a lot more combination together and passing it to each other a lot more as we go forward.

"But individually they did well and contributed really well to the result."

James Bentley stole the show with a double, his first tries for the Rhinos.

"I thought he had an excellent game," added Smith.

"He had a good balance of competing hard and being very effective with what he did."

The back-rower, however, was left sweating over another potential ban after being sin-binned for a high tackle.

Smith stopped short of saying he would rein Bentley in but would like to see more control from the forward.

"I haven't seen the up close version of that," said Smith.

"I've only seen a slightly wider angle and it didn't look like it had too much in it from that angle.

"It's a fine line, isn't it. It's a combat sport so it's a matter of managing your own thoughts and having a level of competitiveness that is appropriate for the moment.

"He's a young man with big aspirations and drive to do well. He needs to continue to work on when to do what."