AUSSIE SIGNING Keith Galloway admits he has “big boots to fill” at Leeds Rhinos.
The former Test front-rower arrived in England two days ago and will begin pre-season training with his new team-mates on Monday morning.
Galloway has been awarded Leeds’ squad number eight, which was occupied by Kylie Leuluai from 2007 until he retired at the end of last season.
The former Samoan international is the most successful import in Rhinos’ history and Galloway admitted: “It is big boots to fill, he has been a legend at this club.
“I am going to do my best job and hopefully I’ll do well.”
Galloway, 30, described the prospect of fitting into a team which won every available honour last season as “exciting”.
He said: “The boys did a terrific job last year.
“There’s a bit of pressure there to perform and do the same thing next season.
“They are a strong team and it is exciting to be joining this side.”
Galloway said he has spoken to former Wests Tigers teammate Pat Richards – who had a spell with Wigan Warriors and will join Catalans Dragons next term – about Super League.
He also knows several of the New Zealand players who featured in last month’s tour match and have spoken highly about the atmosphere at Headingley.
“Pretty much everyone who’s come over here (to Super League) has enjoyed themselves, so that’s pretty encouraging,” he said.
“I am going to play my best and Super League seems pretty exciting.
“It is a good brand of football to watch on television back home.
“Everyone who watches it talks about how exciting it is, so I am looking forward to it.
“Some of the big teams – like Wigan and St Helens – playing against them will be great, experiencing the atmosphere in those games.
“That’ll be pretty cool.”
Galloway made his NRL debut as a 17-year-old schoolboy, for Cronulla Sharks in 2003.
He moved to Wests three years later and played for both New South Wales and Australia in 2011.
He is confident playing in Super League will not require a big adjustment.
“As a front-rower you have got the same job every game you play, do the hit-ups, make the yards and stop their big guys, so I’ll be doing that to the best of my ability,” he stressed.
Galloway will run out at Headingley for the first time on Boxing Day, when Rhinos face Wakefield Trinity Wildcats in the annual festive challenge match.
That will be part of the “new experience” he was seeking when he decided to end his 12-year NRL career. It is chance to experience something different,” he said.
“I have been watching the Super League for a long time and Leeds Rhinos are a really good club.
“My wife was excited about coming over as well.
“It is a different lifestyle and a new beginning.
“Leeds are a very strong side and hopefully I can add to that and try and replicate what the boys did last year.”
Even the weather hasn’t ruined his first impression of his new club.
“Leeds Rhinos have looked after us really well, so it has been good,” he said.
“The weather’s not been too bad.
“I know what I am coming to and I am ready to embrace it.
“I’ll just put an extra layer on if it gets too cold.”
Pre-season in England will be very different to what Galloway is used to back home.
“My old team-mates are sweating it out in 40 degrees heat,” he said.
“It’s a bit different, but I am pretty excited by the challenge.”