DEPARTING WING legend Ryan Hall has refused to rule out a return to Leeds Rhinos.
Barring a freak upset, Hall’s spell as a Rhinos player will end after tonight’s final game of the season at home to Toronto Wolfpack in the Betfred Qualifiers.
The Leeds-born England ace, who is recovering from a season-ending anterior cruciate ligament (acl) injury, will join Australian club Sydney Roosters next year.
But he insisted: “I’ve always said to my wife I’d like to live in England after playing rugby.
“After my contract there, who knows?
“Anything could happen, I might go really well and over there and stay a little bit longer, but I would never say no about coming back to Leeds.”
Hall will be 32 when his initial two-year contract expires.
He said: “Ever since I started my aim was to get to 35. That’s not the finish line, I’m not going to get to 35 and say ‘that’s it, I’m finished’.”
Hall made his Rhinos debut in the infamous 2007 Magic Weekend win over Bradford Bulls and has scored 233 tries in 330 appearances.
Only Eric Harris (391), John Atkinson (340), Alan Smith (283) and Danny McGuire (267) have scored more tries for Leeds.
A seven-time Grand Final winner and twice a Challenge Cup champion, Hall reflected: “When I started I wanted to take every day as it came and just get on with it.
“I didn’t really have an end goal. I’ve got a decent collection [of honours], but it’s just part and parcel of playing for a good team.
“I am just a cog in the team. It is a well-run club here at Leeds that produces some great players through the academy.
“There’s always a good chance we’re going to win something and we seem to do it quite regularly.”
This has been the poorest season of Hall’s time at Leeds, but he feels the club are in good shape to get back on track in 2019.
He said: “There’s been a really good spirit at the back end of the year, in the Qualifiers.
“They are in good hands with Kev [Sinfield, director of rugby] and the new coach Dave Furner coming in.
“I’ve never worked with him, but I’ve met him a couple of times and I’m sure he will do a good job.”
Rhinos are planning a big send-off for Hall after tonight’s game, but he admitted: “I would rather just slide out of the back door than make a big song and dance about it.
“I won’t be emotional, it is part of sport. I know I haven’t moved around personally, but it is the industry we are in.
“It is time for me to move on so I think I’ll be all right. There was a bit of realisation when I was going through the process of leaving, but it is all settled now and just because it’s my last game at Headingley doesn’t mean I’ll get extra emotional or anything like that.”
Hall underwent surgery to reconstruct his knee 23 days ago and said: “I am all right, it’s getting there.
“I think I played it down a bit in my head when I had the operation. I was thinking it would be sore for a couple of days after being cut open, but I didn’t realise how sore it would be.
“It was a lot more sore than I thought it would be, but it’s all right now and I’m getting on with my re-hab.”
The recovery timescale following an acl injury can vary from six to nine months. Hall added: “Being the person I am I’d like to get back in a world record time and come back in five months. Why not? That’s the aim.”
Roosters face Melbourne Storm on Sunday in the NRL Grand Final.
“I watched the semi-final the other day and was very impressed with them,” Hall said.
“The way they defended you could just tell they weren’t going to get beat. I’ve played in some teams where you might get broken up by a break away, but all the team’s chasing back and all of a sudden a prop will make a vital tackle somewhere.
“Souths put a kick in late on and a prop – the No 10 [Sio Siua] Taukeiaho – knocked it dead.
“He found himself there, it was just one of those things and you could tell they weren’t going to concede a try. They wanted to win and you could tell that from the way they defended.”
Hall said he is not intimidated by the prospect of joining one of Australia’s top teams.
“That’s why I wanted to go to them, because they’ve got a great chance of being successful,” he stressed.
“I want to go over there and win something.”