LAST YEAR’S big improver, Anthony Mullally is determined to make even more of an impact for Leeds Rhinos in 2018.
Outlining his personal goals, he stressed: “I want to hit the ground running, start where I left off and hopefully progress again and try and reach another level.”
The giant front-rower established himself as a member of coach Brian McDermott’s first-choice 17 last term.
After 18 substitute appearances in his debut campaign, he played 34 times in 2017, including six starts and was a member of Rhinos’ Grand Final-winning team.
He went on to star for Ireland in the World Cup and has been promoted up Rhinos’ pecking order for the new campaign from No 20 to No 16.
“I want to keep getting consistent game time and try and build my levels and performance,” he added.
“I’d like to think there’s more to come from me. I’d like to think I matured a lot as a player last year and I am only just coming into my own - there’s quite a lot more to come, I think.”
This is the final season of Mullally’s initial three-year contract, but the 26-year-old former Widnes Vikings, Bradford Bulls, Huddersfield Giants and Wakefield Trinity powerhouse insisted that is not a factor at this stage.
“It’s in the back of my mind, but I just want to focus on staying in the team, playing well and whatever happens will happen.”
Mullally made a rare start in Rhinos’ Boxing Day win at Wakefield, but revealed he is happy in his role as an impact substitute.
“To be honest, I enjoy coming off the bench,” he confirmed.
“Obviously I start the odd game when Brian shuffles things around and when that happens I embrace the opportunity, but personally I prefer coming off the bench.
“I think that’s when you get the best of me, coming on and trying to make an impact.
“At the moment I think that suits my game a bit more.
“I feel I am starting to mature a bit so maybe as I get older it might change, but at the moment I am enjoying my role.”
One of Mullally’s first targets this year is to be in Leeds’ side for the World Club Challenge at Melbourne Storm on February 16.
That’s what I am working towards,” he stated. “That will be my objective.”
It will be a rapid return to Australia for Mullally who was a member of Ireland’s World Cup squad.
Reflecting on that experience, he said: “It was a great month, it was tougher than I thought it was going to be and obviously we fell short of the quarters [knockout stages], but that couldn’t be helped.
“We knew what the rules were, so it was just something we had to deal with.”
Mullally had four weeks off before beginning pre-season training with Leeds.
“It’s not loads of time, but it’s enough,” he said.
“I’ve come back and felt okay, I don’t feel like I’ve been off my feet for that long, so that’s a positive.”