Leeds Rhinos: Door’s not closed on new deal says Achurch

Mitch Achurch scores against London Broncos.
Mitch Achurch scores against London Broncos.
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AUSSIE FORWARD Mitch Achurch says the door has not been closed on a new deal at Leeds Rhinos, but the financial situation makes it unlikely he will stay.

Achurch is in the fourth and final year of a contract he signed after leaving NRL club Penrith Panthers.

He said in April he was set to leave Rhinos at the end of the year, after not being offered a new deal, but revealed talks have taken place over possibly staying on.

“I have got a few things going on at the moment, a few different offers,” Achurch confirmed.

“I am just weighing up what’s best for me.

“To be fair, the door at Leeds hasn’t been shut completely yet, but they probably have a few financial issues in keeping me.

“That might be the only reason I have to go.”

He added: “We have been talking a little bit about the possibility of staying, but it looks like there might be too much salary cap pressure and that might make me have to move on.

“It’s definitely not a matter of the club not wanting me to stay at the moment, which is a positive.

“With the signing of Brett Ferres and Chicko [James Segeyaro] they are going to have to spend a bit of money to keep quality players, so one of us is going to have to move on to make room for some decent players. It might be me.”

Though he is only 28, Achurch said hanging up his boots is one possible option.

“The way things are going, it’s a possibility,” he said.

“I always told myself if I had to start going backwards with my contract negotiations it would be time to hang my boots up.

“While my body’s intact it is one of my options, to give it away.

“With the gym I’ve opened and things away from rugby that are becoming more important to me, I haven’t ruled it out.”

Ironically, Achurch – who has been plagued by injuries during his time at Leeds – has finally managed to put a run of games together, missing just one of the last 20.

He said: “The positive for me is, at the beginning it was because of injuries I got my shot and people have been coming back and I have still held my spot and played plenty of minutes.

“That’s what I’ve been chasing for the last four years. The last 12-14 weeks have been the highlight of my Leeds career so far, so I am pretty happy at the moment.”

Achurch was a try scorer in Rhinos’ 42-28 win at London Broncos last week and said he feels comfortable in the role he has been given.

He said: “It has been a fairly simple job, I haven’t been told I am playing left or right back-row or I am going to go here or there.

“It’s pretty much see how the game unfolds then throw me out there and try to do my best. I have made it simple in my head in the way that I just go out there and try to make a difference and it has come off for me.”

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