Salford Red Devils v Leeds Rhinos: Rohan Smith has no interest in table ahead of Super League debut

Leeds Rhinos have an opportunity to make up ground on the top six over the next two games but head coach Rohan Smith is paying no attention to the Super League table.

The Australian has been afforded the time to settle into his new role at Headingley following his arrival early last week.

Leeds have not played since nilling Hull KR on April 29 to make it back-to-back wins, giving the season a slightly different complexion after a wretched six-match winless run.

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The Rhinos are ninth ahead of Smith’s first game in charge at Salford Red Devils on Sunday, five points adrift of the play-offs.

Rohan Smith will take charge of his first game as Leeds head coach on Sunday. (Picture: SWPix.com)

With Wakefield Trinity up next on home soil, Leeds could be in a healthier position by the time the next Challenge Cup break comes around - but Smith will not be reaching for a calculator anytime soon.

“I’m not a table watcher,” he said.

“The team I coached last year [Norths Devils] lost two games but I don’t look at the ladder.

“It’s significant for the fans but for me it’s about the performance on the weekend and then it’ll be about chasing next week’s performance.

Rohan Smith arrived in the country last week. (Picture: SWPix.com)

“They’re all worth two points and that’s what we’ll be aiming for every week."

The Rhinos delivered a series of committed displays under interim head coach Jamie Jones-Buchanan to leave Smith with something to work with.

He has told supporters travelling to the AJ Bell Stadium to expect a change in the way Leeds play.

“Introducing a new spin on things in some aspects of how we play is important,” said Smith.

Leeds overpowered Hull KR last time out. (Picture: SWPix.com)

“We need to get that integrated and started well. There will be a little shift there that’s pretty visible to a fan and coach alike.

“It’s a mix of recognising the players’ individual talents and also a bit of my own beliefs about how the game can be played. Blending those things together is something we’ll build on.

“There will be a little shift that will be visible this weekend.”

The Rhinos suffered a humbling defeat on their last visit to Salford in March after conceding three late tries.

The Rhinos were left stunned on their last visit to the AJ Bell Stadium. (Picture: SWPix.com)

Paul Rowley’s side have not won since but Smith is wary of a Red Devils outfit that pushed Wigan Warriors and St Helens close in their last two outings.

“I’ve watched a bunch of their games on video and we’ve discussed as staff where we see their strengths and where we’ll need to be good to combat that,” said Smith.

“We’re expecting a very, very competitive tough, physical game on Sunday from two teams that are looking forward to stepping forward after a weekend off.

“Everyone is just desperate to get out there and play well.”

It will be a special occasion for Smith, a coach who took the long road to Super League after serving his apprenticeship in the background at New Zealand Warriors, London Broncos, Newcastle Knights, Sydney Roosters, Penrith Panthers and Gold Coast Titans, as well as a brief spell in charge of Bradford Bulls in the Championship.

He feels in a privileged position ahead of his Super League debut.

“I’ve always known it is a big club and seeing it from the inside has certainly confirmed that,” said the 41-year-old.

“I’m very excited. Being in this position is something I’ve thought about for a long time but since I signed here a couple of weeks ago I’ve been very, very excited and eager to be part of something that means so much to so many people. That’s probably the thing that inspires me the most."