IF SOMEONE tells you a rumour about the Rhinos and says ‘I heard it from one of the players’, don’t believe it.
Our chief executive, Gary Hetherington, goes about his business quietly and when something – like a signing – happens we find out about it at the same time as everyone else.
The first I knew about Nathaniel Peteru joining the club was on Wednesday morning when I looked at the Evening Post website.
I don’t know much about him, but it’s exciting news for next year.
I am sure a lot of people in Leeds will have been logging on to YouTube this week to have a look at him and what he is going to offer.
He is a big bloke, an Islander and he has got physical attributes which will add something to our team.
Along with Anthony Mullally and Jack Ormondroyd, we will have some units in the middle next year.
He doesn’t play in my position, but it’s always good when a player comes to the club.
It’s not a case of the existing squad feeling threatened. As a team you are always looking to evolve and get better and obviously we’re in a transitional phase at the moment.
The club’s policy is to promote from within and I agree with that. Rhinos have a good record of bringing young players through, Jack Walker being the latest example, but sometimes you have to look elsewhere and we’ve had a lot of success with overseas signings over the years.
People like Brent Webb, Kylie Leuluai, Adam Cuthbertson, Ali Lauitiiti and Brett Delaney have been fantastic servants to Leeds.
We don’t often bring in really big names; Kylie, Cuthbo and Frogger weren’t superstars in the NRL, but they have come in, fitted into our system and our culture and really made a mark on Leeds and Super League.
Hopefully Nathaniel will do the same.
Speaking of Frogger (that’s Brett Delaney), I really felt for him when he went off in the opening few minutes at Huddersfield last week.
He is a bloke I love playing alongside and I think he’s one of the most under-rated players in our squad.
The job he does probably goes unnoticed by a lot of people, he doesn’t get the plaudits or feature on the highlights reels, but he would be one of the first names on my teamsheet every week.
He is a workhorse and he has got skill as well.
He is also very tough and maybe that has worked against him at times, because if he gets a knock he tries to play through it.
When he goes down, you know it is serious. He has had rotten luck with injuries over the past couple of seasons and we’ll all be devastated if the one he got last week ends his year, but I am sure he will bounce back.
It is a shame he is going to miss tonight’s semi-final, but we have got a strong squad and we are in a pretty healthy situation for this time of the year.
Tonight’s game is our biggest of the year and it is going to be a big occasion for a lot of reasons.
The South Stand has gone now and the North Stand is coming down after the game so it is the end of an era in that regards.
Also, it is Rob Burrow’s last game at Headingley and Danny McGuire’s final home appearance for Leeds.
They are two absolute legends of the club and we all want to send them off with a win tonight and then by lifting the trophy at Old Trafford in eight days’ time.
That’s not extra motivation – a shot at being crowned champions is all the incentive anyone needs, but they both deserve to go out on a high and we want to help them do that.
Hull will feel the same about Gaz Ellis and they will be tough opposition, as always. We have a good record against them, but they outplayed us in the Challenge Cup and they’ll be confident after their recent performances.
It has been a decent year overall, but it all comes down to tonight. We are in good form, we’ve prepared well and, hopefully, we’re ready to put in a good performance and get the win – though, to be honest, just a win would do.
On a personal note, if selected it will be my 300th game for Leeds. Playing that many times for my home-town club is something I am hugely proud of and I’d like to thank everyone for their support.