Next Leeds Rhinos coach can't fix the fundamental flaw preventing return to power

The objective for Leeds Rhinos' next head coach is a simple one, but coming up with the solution will be much more complex than it sounds.

The current Rhinos squad is underperforming. Ultimately, that's why Rohan Smith is no longer in his job. And you would suspect that whoever takes the Headingley hot seat next will be able to implement some quick fixes that will help deliver an upturn in performances and results.

However, while Leeds don't lack talent, they do lack some of the minerals and characteristics that are required to be a top team, and they're requirements that no tactical and technical amendments will fix.

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The Rhinos playing group generally lacks enough characters with leadership qualities, and it has for some time. There is a shortage of players capable of taking the team by the scruff of the neck and dragging them out of a dark hole when the going gets tough. There aren't enough players comfortable getting involved in a scrap and ensuring their team comes out on top.

Jon Wilkin quite brutally labelled Leeds' pack as soft following the defeat to Hull FC. He went one step further by suggesting he would "try and biff" Leeds prop Mikolaj Oledzki as he would have no fear of retribution.

Singling out Oledzki was harsh, but the crux of his point was valid. Leeds badly lack an enforcer or an alpha. They don't have that figurehead opponents fear, or a player uncomfortable to run at because they possess the dark arts of the game. They don't intimidate anyone.

It was notable during last weekend's defeat that whenever a player made a mistake, a number of players would be on hand to provide reassuring words and an arm around the shoulder. But at times, a player willing to call out falling standards, to hold players accountable, is required. That doesn't seem to be there during the 80 minutes. In many ways, they are too nice.

To be clear, it's not a criticism of the captain, Cameron Smith, nor is it a dig at any of the individuals in the group. But collectively, the group lacks the full array of characters needed in a successful squad.

It goes to explain the signing of Ryan Hall, a person who has a presence, commands respect and will set and uphold standards. But Leeds need more than that. Until that is fixed, Leeds won't be contenders.