RECORD-BREAKER Brett Delaney has revealed he turned down more money elsewhere to sign for Leeds Rhinos.
The Australian forward says that decision has been fully justified by the club’s remarkable run since 2010.
Delaney has already played in more Challenge Cup finals than any other Australian and he is set to extend that record to five against Hull KR tomorrow afternoon.
“You don’t really play for personal accolades,” insisted Delaney, who has missed the last two games due to a hamstring problem, but is confident of being fit for Saturday.
“As long as the team wins, that is the main thing. It is good to get that recognition, but I didn’t know about the record. It will just be good to play in another final, especially after I’ve had a bit of a stop-start year. It is good to be back there again.”
Delaney’s first three finals all ended in defeat, but the record was set straight 12 months ago when he was a member of the team which beat Castleford Tigers for Rhinos’ first Cup win since 1999.
“In Australia you don’t really know much about the Challenge Cup,” said the former Gold Coast Titans centre-turned-second-row.
“Until you get here you don’t realise how big an event it is.
“There first three years blew me away, but unfortunately we lost.
“Last year we were fortunate enough to get the victory and it was just unbelievable.
“I have been to Old Trafford a couple of times too and it’s just great playing for these trophies, with this bunch of blokes and for this club.”
Delaney admitted the prospect of being involved in finals was a major factor when he signed for Leeds.
“I didn’t really think we’d get to this many,” he admitted. “Obviously I knew Leeds were a strong side.
“I was quite young when I made the decision, I was only 23 so it was a big call, but I am glad I made the choice to come to Leeds.
“There were other clubs out there I probably could have gone to for a big more money, but when it boils down to it, I definitely made the right decision to come to Leeds.
“My first game was the World Club Challenge against Melbourne at Elland Road and it was unbelievable.
“I came here to win trophies and I’ve been very fortunate to do that.
“I have got to pinch myself – it’s six years later and another Wembley final.
“The Leeds club is a great place and I feel so comfortable here. It is a long way from home, but I’ve never felt so comfortable in all my life.
“The boys are so welcoming and the club is like a big family. It is a great place to be around.”
Delaney is now in the process of applying for British citizenship. He said: “I am going to sit the test this year. I have been studying a bit, but the more I study the worse I get!
“Hopefully I’ll pass – I need to, otherwise I’ll be on the run.”
Despite that, there is no prospect of Delaney turning out for England.
“I am still an Aussie,” he stated. “I wouldn’t want to stand in anyone’s way, stopping them playing for England.
“It is good to see the way the English game is growing. I’ve been here six years now and it’s getting better and better each year.”