WANDERER ANTHONY Mullally has finally found a home at Leeds Rhinos.
Mullally is still on ‘cloud nine’ after capping an outstanding domestic season with an appearance as a substitute in Rhinos’ Betfred Super League Grand Final conquering of Castleford Tigers.
The giant forward has been arguably Rhinos’ most improved player this year, becoming an integral member of coach Brian McDermott’s first-choice 17 and chipping in with some important tries.
And he says feeling settled, for the first time in his professional career, has been a key factor in his impressive run of form.
The Widnes-born 26-year-old had spells at his hometown club either side of a stint with Brisbane Broncos.
He moved on to Huddersfield Giants and played on loan at Bradford Bulls and Wakefield Trinity – including an appearance in the 2015 million pound game – before joining Leeds two years ago.
Mullally made 18 appearances in 2016, all as a substitute, but has played in all but two of Rhinos’ 36 competitive games this year, and he said: “I think I finally feel at home at a club.
“I’ve been at different clubs along the way and for the first time I am feeling at home now.
“Last year was a scratchy year for everyone, it was tough, but this year we’ve got together and put our heads together and it has been great.
“I am happy to play regularly, I’ve played more than 30 games, I’ve got some consistent game time and everyone’s been great.
“We’re champions – it still feels weird saying that – and I am buzzing.”
Mullally, who scored seven tries in 2017, described playing in a Grand Final win as “a bit surreal”.
He added: “It is what I’ve dreamed of since I was a kid and I’ve got it now.
“It has not really settled in yet, but once the dust settles I’ll be able to think a bit clearer.”
Rhinos’ forwards have been criticised in the past, but Mullally reckons their Grand Final effort proved they can more than match any pack in Super League.
“One thing you can’t question is how hard we work for each other,” Mullally said.
“We have always done that.”
While the majority of Rhinos’ squad are now on their closed-season break, Mullally – along with team-mate Brad Singleton – is preparing to represent Ireland in his second World Cup.
“I’ve been looking forward to it for a few years now,” he said.
“Obviously with the Grand Final, it has all come at once and it has been a bit hectic, but I’m ready to go and hopefully we can do something over there.
“It’s good that Singo is in the squad as well, because he’s a great player, but I know a few of the boys from the last World Cup so it’s all good.”
Ireland play Italy, Papua New Guinea and Wales, and Mullally predicted: “I used to live in Australia so it’ll be good to get back there and see some old friends. I think we are definitely capable of making the quarter-finals, then we’ll see how we go from there.”