Leeds Rhinos boss Rohan Smith leaves by mutual consent to avoid being a ‘distraction’… as the Super League club prepare to celebrate the life of legendary former player Rob Burrow

  • Leeds Rhinos fans turned on Smith after Saturday’s loss to struggling Hull FC 
  • Smith’s departure comes ahead of Leeds’ first home match since Burrow’s death 
  • Tributes will be paid to legendary former player Burrow on Friday against Leigh

Leeds Rhinos boss Rohan Smith has left the club to avoid being a ‘distraction’ when the life of Rob Burrow is celebrated during Friday night’s clash with Leigh.

Rhinos fans turned on Smith following last Saturday’s loss to struggling Hull FC, a third defeat in four games, which left the team languishing in seventh in the Super League table.

The Australian coach has now parted company with Leeds by mutual consent ahead of their first home match since their legendary former player Burrow died aged 41 of motor neurone disease.

‘Friday will be a special night for the club and we wanted to remove the ongoing coaching speculation and distraction,’ said Smith.

‘Celebrating Rob’s life, the great work done by the club and Kev (Sinfield) for the MND community and playing well is the focus for Friday.

Rohan Smith has left Leeds Rhinos to avoid being a ‘distraction’ when they celebrate Rob Burrow

Smith saw his side suffer a third defeat in four matches against struggling Hull last week

Smith saw his side suffer a third defeat in four matches against struggling Hull last week

Burrow passed away earlier this month at the age of 41 following a five year battle with Motor Neurone Disease

Burrow passed away earlier this month at the age of 41 following a five year battle with Motor Neurone Disease

Leeds Rhinos paid tribute to Burrow before the match with Hull and will do so again on Friday in their first home match since his death

Leeds Rhinos paid tribute to Burrow before the match with Hull and will do so again on Friday in their first home match since his death

Smith welcomed Burrow's father Geoff, right, and his mother Irene, earlier this month as the club paid its respects

Smith welcomed Burrow’s father Geoff, right, and his mother Irene, earlier this month as the club paid its respects

‘I believe this team can still achieve great things and I am proud of the work that the coaching team have done to develop players, especially the next generations.

‘Unfortunately, I will not be head coach to see this development continue but I look forward to watching the club’s future successes.’

Smith was appointed by Leeds in April 2022 and led them to the Grand Final at the end of that season.

But they missed out on the play-offs last campaign after finishing eighth, and last Saturday’s defeat – their seventh in 14 games so far this season – proved to be the final straw.

Rhinos chief executive Gary Hetherington added: ‘Results and performances this season have not met all our expectations to get us back to where we want to be.’

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