NEW SIGNING Dom Crosby hopes to extend his Leeds Rhinos stay beyond this year.
Crosby joined Rhinos from Warrington Wolves last week on a loan deal lasting until the end of the season. He made his debut in the 34-0 success against Widnes Vikings which ended Rhinos’ nine-game winless streak and is already thinking ahead to a long Headingley career.
“I just want to prove myself and if I keep improving week-in and week-out hopefully I can get a longer deal,” said Crosby, whose Warrington contract expires in the autumn.
“Leeds are one of the biggest clubs in the league, if not the biggest. They have been the most successful team over the last decade or so and I’m just grateful for the opportunity off Kevin [Sinfield’ Rhinos’ new director of rugby]. I hope I can keep improving and help the team out.”
Crosby will give Rhinos some of the size and experience they’ve been lacking since Keith Galloway retired earlier in the year. The 27-year-old won two Grand Finals during his 102 appearances for Wigan Warriors from 2012-2016. He joined Warrington two years ago and played seven times for them in 2017 and another 10 games this term.
“I had a few personal issues at Warrington and I think it was just time for a change,” he said. “When the opportunity came I grabbed it with both hands. After speaking with Kev and hearing the direction he wants to go and what kind of player he wants, I think I fit that mold. I am just focusing on next week now and on keeping improving.”
I just want to prove myself and if I keep improving week-in and week-out hopefully I can get a longer deal.Dom Crosby
Sinfield had hoped to sign Crosby a week earlier, in time for him to feature against Wakefield Trinity.
“I came for look round last week, but it never went ahead,” Crosby confirmed. “It finally got done on Wednesday night, so I was able to train with the boys [on Thursday] and play on Friday and I was buzzing to make my debut. It has been pretty stressful, but I’m just grateful the deal got over the line in time and I was able to play .”
Of his first appearance for Leeds, Crosby added: “I thought it was pretty good. It was good to blow some cobwebs off. I’d not played for a couple of weeks and not trained much. I’m just looking to build on that and keep the momentum going.”
Despite Rhinos’ struggles this season, Crosby is confident they will have a strong end to the year.
He described Friday’s win as “a step in the right direction” and said: “It is a bit of a confidence-boost. There’s a bit of a buzz around the place now Kev’s come. It’s a real good place to be around and I think we’ll build on this.
“Kev is someone I’ve looked up to and what he’s done in the game is tremendous. I think all the lads look up to him and that’s what makes him so much of a role model and a good coach. It is pleasing to be here.”
Having former Warrington hooker Brad Dwyer as a teammate has helped Crosby settle in. “He has made the transition easier, he said. “I am travelling over at the moment, hopefully until we get something sorted. I’ll stop at Brad’s some days, so it’s not too bad.”
Meanwhile, Sinfield has explained the change of goal kicker against Widnes, from Liam Sutcliffe – who landed four from four in the previous game – to Richie Myler. Sinfield revealed: “Liam had a quad strain on Wednesday in training.
“He was a doubt for the game, but got through training [on Friday].
“We just thought it was too much of a risk for him to kick, especially with him playing in the second-row and us being a little bit light there at this moment in time. We couldn’t afford to lose him.”
Myler converted three of Rhinos’ seven tries and Sinfield added: “To be fair to Richie, he took up the challenge. Kickers have to practice and to put the time in. To get the job as late as he did, I thought he did all right.”