DEADLINE-BEATING SIGNING Jordan Thompson is hoping to earn a long-term contract with Leeds Rhinos.
The former Castleford Tigers and Hull second-rower joined Rhinos from Leigh Centurions last month, days before the 2018 transfer window closed.
He has signed until the end of this season, but is keen to show what he can do in the middle-eights Qualifiers and impress director of rugby Kevin Sinfield enough to be offered a contract for next year.
“I will definitely be looking for a deal after [this season] if all goes well on the field,” said Thompson.
The 26-year-old will have five games to prove his worth after picking up a two-match suspension for a dangerous tackle during his debut against Salford Red Devils two weeks ago.
After being Challenge Cup-tied for last weekend’s semi-final defeat by Warrington Wolves he is facing a frustrating wait, but is already happy he has made the right move despite Rhinos’ looming relegation battle.
It’s just about working hard now and proving myself.Jordan Thompson
Thompson said: “It’s always a lot better when you’ve played a game and been on the field with everyone. It was a bit like a first day at school [before the Salford game] only having one or two sessions and then straight into it, but it’s all good.
“The lads have welcomed me fine so I am ready to rip in now until the end of the year.”
Thompson, from Normanton, is enjoying a 20-minute drive to training, rather than a 5.30am start to get to Leigh, but admitted: “I am getting some stick off my mates for joining Leeds!
“That’s all part and parcel, I think everyone’s just happy I’ve got myself sorted and if something comes of it I’ll be mega-happy.
“It’s just about working hard now and proving myself.”
Thompson became available when Leigh began trimming their squad after failing to finish in the Championship’s top four.
Explaining how the move came about, he said: “It happened really quickly.
“We had a meeting at Leigh on the Monday morning and Purts [coach Kieron Purtill] said we’re not sure what the crack is so if you get phone calls answer them and talk to whoever you need to.
“That day I got a phone call saying these guys were interested so it all moved pretty quickly from there. On the Tuesday night it was deal done and I came training on the Wednesday.
“It happened fast, but I am happy with it.”
Thompson is confident Rhinos will avoid the drop. He added: “Leeds are an absolutely massive club, they don’t get much bigger.
“Things haven’t gone the way they hoped on the field, but it doesn’t take away from the stature of the club.
“It’s definitely in our hands. We’re going into it positive and it’s pretty much a knockout mentality because you need the two points every week.
“Everyone will want our scalp, but I’m sure we’ll get the training right and make sure we perform on the pitch.”