Rhinos conceded nine tries in a defeat which almost certainly ended their top-six hopes with two rounds remaining in the Betfred Super League season.
“You never forget those types of days,” Smith admitted in his post-match press conference. “They stay there, you just learn how to deal with it better and you take something out of it.”
Because of injuries and mid-season departures, Rhinos were without their numbers one, four, six, seven, nine, 10 and 11 and had 19-year-old second-rower Morgan Gannon at stand-off, alongside Jack Sinfield who is a year younger.
Smith vowed: “You learn a lot, the younger players particularly. Some experienced players are still going to learn something out of today - if they choose to, which they will - and we will get on with it.
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“Professional sport is about that, you are going to have some bad days and you front up and fight through it.”
Wigan are top of the table and Smith conceded the result was “clearly disappointing”, but felt his players “put a lot of effort in”.
He said: “It was a good arm wrestle in the opening period, but we got beaten to the punch a little bit on a couple of kick plays and there was a video ref one that [went against Rhinos] after a lot of replays.
“We were second-best against a very, very strong Wigan team, but there’s a lot of players in our group who are doing their best for the team and trying hard, playing out of position or playing more minutes than was expected.
“The blokes in the group are tight and together, despite lacking execution today in key moments.”
It was Rhinos’ heaviest defeat of the campaign and Smith added: “We’ve had a lot of close games pretty much all year and we played against an opposition that were firing.
“A lot of our players have been to a place they haven’t been before this year, some of them are getting asked to play in a new position or more minutes or a bigger role, given the people who have departed.
“There’s a lot of spirit in that group, they are a proud group and we’ll start again and build up to have a good performance next week.
“The players are disappointed, there’s a lot of effort gone into that, but miscalculated at times and [they were] just beaten by some top-end players at times as well.”
There was an angry reaction from a section of supporters who greeted the final whistle with boos and chants of “you’re not fit to wear the shirt”.
However, Smith stressed: “The fans have been great this year, both home and away. The fans are entitled to be disappointed and upset we didn’t make it more of a contest on the scoreboard. We all share that, we live and breathe it every day.”
Captain Cameron Smith did not return from a head knock in the second half, but the coach confirmed he passed his concussion assessment so will be available for next Saturday’s game at Catalans Dragons.