Leeds Rhinos: Achurch happy to wait and see on his future

Mitch Achurch
Mitch Achurch
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MITCH ACHURCH is in the best form of his Leeds Rhinos career – just as he seems set to leave Headingley.

MITCH ACHURCH is in the best form of his Leeds Rhinos career – just as he seems set to leave Headingley.

The Australian forward endured an injury-ravaged first three seasons with the club and was told before this campaign began that he would not be offered a new deal for 2017.

However, having finally enjoyed a regular run in Brian McDermott’s side, playing some fine football, they may now want to reconsider that.

Leeds are consigned to a relegation battle but second-row Achurch is thriving, impressing again as Rhinos picked up a rare win at leaders Hull FC on Friday.

He has now missed just one of their last 15 games and admitted: “It’s a Catch 22; the team isn’t doing very well at the bottom of the table but personally I’m going alright.

“It’s just a matter of getting some minutes in my legs.

“Touch wood I haven’t had any injuries recently and so have had that run of games. It’s paying off for me.

“I always knew the tide would turn eventually. It was just whether it would be in time to sort myself out to stay at Leeds.

“It seems it might have to be somewhere else now but it’s one of those things; I always knew I was capable of playing at a high-level – it was just a matter of getting my body right and it is coming good now.”

Achurch, who turns 28 on the eve of Friday’s game with new leaders Wigan Warriors, remains unsure about his plans for next year.

He is certain to attract interest from other top-flight clubs if his current form continues but he has also set up a gym in Armley with former team-mate Ian Kirke while his partner and child live back home in Australia.

“It’s still up in the air at the moment,” said the player, who arrived from Penrith Panthers at the end of 2013.

“I’ve got the gym to a point where it’s doing really well and earlier than expected and that, if I had to go home, could be considered as an investment that will tick over on its own now.

“But at the same time I’m still enjoying it over here so am welcoming offers from anywhere really.

“Once I get a couple I can weigh them up, see what the missus wants to do and what’s best for my rugby.

“To be fair, I’m enjoying the fact I’m not too worried about it all.

“I’m playing my way into a few options and I don’t really want to be bamboozled by the talk of possible contracts here and there.

“I’m the type of person that if I do get that chat I can be distracted so am enjoying just sitting back and hopefully something will come in.”

Meanwhile, Wigan are set to be without captain Sean O’Loughlin for the fixture at Headingley after the loose forward was charged with a Grade C reckless high tackle on Wakefield’s Chris Annakin.

England skipper O’Loughlin was red-carded for the first half offence in Friday’s win and called up to tonight’s disciplinary where he could be banned for up to three games.

STAND-UP GUY: Jamie Jones-Buchanan. PIC: Tony Johnson

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