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5 hours ago
Leeds Rhinos' coach Tony Smith watched his young side lose 38-24 at York yesterday - but believes his players will be better for the experience.
Only Marcus Bai and Willie Poching took part from the 2004 Grand Final winning team, and York took advantage of that inexperience during the second half.
"A lot of our young players took three steps forward on Boxing Day and I suppose today a couple of them have taken a step backwards," said Smith. "But I am sure they will learn from that.
"York gave us a great game and it was a good occasion for Rugby League, but we won't be too disheartened."
Smith confirmed the view that rising star Lee Smith may be the next Rhinos' youngster to break through into the first team.
He said: "It is difficult to single out individuals but I thought Nick Scruton really put his hand up for inclusion for the start of the season and Lee Smith proved that he will have a place in the first team during this year."
The Rhinos lost the corresponding fixture last season with a similar side and Smith joked, "Hopefully, it will be a lucky omen!"