AS LEEDS Rhinos’ squad for 2019 begins to take shape, forward Nathaniel Peteru is predicting big things from his fellow imports.
Peteru reckons Tui Lolohea – who arrived on Wednesday to begin a three-year contract – and marquee recruits Konrad Hurrell and Trent Merrin will all make a huge impact in Betfred Super League.
Peteru played with Tongan centre Hurrell at Gold Coast Titans and revealed: “We go quite a way back.”
He said: “We knew each other at high school in New Zealand. We were pretty close.
“He will be massive for us, what he brings not just on the field, but off it.
“It will rub off, especially on the young guys.
“His enthusiasm and his work ethic is second to none.
“He is a really good bloke as well, not just because he’s my mate.
“The boys will love him, he’s what we need.”
Hurrell, who is due to arrive at the end of next week, spoke to Peteru before signing for Leeds.
“Gary [Hetherington, Rhinos’ chief executive] asked me to throw a good few words in,” Peteru said.
“I was more than happy to do that – and with Tui.
“We go quite a way back too.
“We were together in high school in New Zealand, we played school footy and at the Warriors.
“Tui is younger than me and Konny is older so I have known those two for a while.”
Of the the impact half-back Lolohea could make for Leeds, Peteru predicted: “He will be awesome.
“We have got Callum [McLelland] and Richie Myler and he will complement them with his ability.
“He will have a big year, I know he wants to come over here and really stamp his mark.
“He didn’t have the best of years at the Tigers, he had a bad shoulder so he’ll be looking to come over here and have a big year for us.
“He is an awesome signing and what we need as well.”
Merrin, a forward who has been capped by Australia and New South Wales, is set to link up with his new club within the next fortnight, once paperwork has been completed. Of the ex-Penrith Panther, Peteru said: “I don’t know him personally, but I’ve played against him quite a bit.
“He’s a very good player and he will be great for us too.”
Peteru was in a similar situation 12 months ago. He attended the first day of training last week and is hoping for an injury-free build-up to 2019, in contrast to his first pre-season with Leeds.
“It’s going really good, I am really enjoying the new set up,” he said.
“Last year I got sick at the start of pre-season and then I got injured on the artificial field, but you live and learn.
“I’ve put things in place so that doesn’t happen again and it’s going to be good. It is going to be a big pre-season. You don’t want to be behind the eight-ball and trying to catch up so we’re going to have a big one going into the season and we want to start strong and finish strong.”