Leeds Rhinos: Moon sad to leave Rhinos but reckons '˜time is right'

Joel MoonJoel Moon
Joel Moon
DEPARTING AUSSIE star Joel Moon says the time is right to leave Leeds Rhinos and head home.

Moon, who will return to Australia when his contract expires at the end of this season, has been described as one of Leeds’ best overseas signings by director of rugby Kevin Sinfield.

The 30-year-old centre/stand-off joined Rhinos for the 2013 season and has scored 76 tries – and one drop goal – in 164 appearances.

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He has three young children and said his decision to leave was made for family reasons.

Kevin SinfieldKevin Sinfield
Kevin Sinfield

Moon confirmed: “It is pretty sad, but we needed to start the next chapter of our life and we are looking forward to it.

“We are going to miss Leeds and hopefully come back in the future as a spectator. It is going to be sad.”

Moon played for Brisbane Broncos and New Zealand Warriors before moving to Super League with Salford in 2012.

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“I have got family back home and that’s where I grew up,” he added. “I was always going to go back, it was just when I was going to go.

“We felt it was right to go now. I feel like I’ve done what I wanted to do here and I’ve enjoyed my time.”

Moon was a member of Rhinos’ treble-winning side in 2015 and also lifted the Challenge Cup in 2014 and the Super League trophy last year.

“I’ve been here six years and I never thought I would have got out of it what I have,” he admitted.

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“I have enjoyed it and met some great people, some great friends.

“The club have been so good to us, me and my family, but we’ve got to move on.”

He is hoping to play on in Australia, but admitted: “I don’t have anything at the moment. I don’t know what I’ll be doing; we’ll have to wait and see.”

Moon insisted his decision to leave Rhinos is not related to the club’s current plight with them facing a battle against relegation in the Qualifiers, after finishing ninth in Betfred Super League.

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He scored a brace of tries in last Saturday’s 48-22 win over Toulouse and stressed: “I want to leave on good terms and play well and leave the club in good form.

“I’m looking forward to the next few weeks. Hopefully we’ll get some good confidence out of the win last weekend and we’ll build on that.”

Rhinos face another Betfred Championship side when they travel to London Broncos on Sunday.

London began their middle-eights campaign with a 21-20 victory at Widnes Vikings last week and Moon warned: “They look pretty handy.

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“Like on the weekend, if you don’t bring your best game they can kill you.

“I think they’ll be very tough down there.”

Moon played at centre against Toulouse and added: “I enjoyed it. I felt like I played my own game. It’s a bit different to six where you have to organise other people. I felt a bit more comfortable, but it’s wherever Kev wants me to play for the team.”

Sinfield was a teammate of Moon’s until retiring at the end of 2015.

“He has been one of the best overseas signings the club has made,” Sinfield said. “His contribution over the years has been immense.

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“I enjoyed playing alongside him. He is a special player and he makes things happen. It’s nice to be back working with him now, even if only for a short period of time. He has got a lovely family and no doubt we’ll keep in touch. We wish him all the best for the future.”