RYAN BAILEY says he has no hard feelings over his shock departure from Leeds Rhinos.
The six-time Grand Final winner had a year left on his contract when he was released, last autumn, to join tomorrow’s opening First Utility Super League opponents Hull KR.
Bailey made his Rhinos debut in 2002 and was the first of the Golden Generation to leave the club. Asked if he was surprised at Leeds’ decision to let him go, he said: “Yes and no.
“I needed a change anyway – a change in environment and a change in lifestyle and I think I got a bit too comfortable at Leeds and was going a bit stale there.
“I thought that with my personal performances, plus I want to be a big leader and it was hard at Leeds as there were so many great leaders there – Kevin Sinfield, Jamie Peacock.
“I respect them both – but it meant it was hard to shine. I want to come here and show I can do a leadership role.”
Bailey insisted there was no bust-up with Rhinos coach Brian McDermott. “He was good,” said the Leeds-born front-rower. “He got the best out of me.
“I’m a hard person to understand at times, but he understood me and we knew how to bounce off each other. I respect him as a coach and he got the best out of me, but it was just my personal performance. I wasn’t happy with that and needed a change.”
Despite his long spell at Leeds, Bailey said he already feels at home in East Hull. He said: “It’s different, a change in environment. They’ve made me feel welcome since I came through the door. It’s a fresh team, but you can feel the tightness already.”