IT WILL be music to the ears of Leeds Rhinos fans, if not opposition defences: powerful centre Konrad Hurrell says he has come to Betfred Super League to play an attacking game.
The marquee signing, who has joined Rhinos from Gold Coast Titans on a three-year contract, arrived in England yesterday and is set to make his first appearance for Leeds in the Wetherby Whaler Festive Challenge against Wakefield Trinity on Boxing Day.
Hurrell, 6ft tall and weighing 16.5 stone, is famed for his ability to run through the toughest of defenders and – along with fit-again captain Kallum Watkins – will give Rhinos fearsome strike power in the centres.
At 27, the Tonga Test star has joined Leeds in the prime of his career, having moved to Super League at a younger age than many imports, but with more than 100 NRL appearances – for Titans and New Zealand Warriors – under his belt.
“I love running the ball, that is my strength,” he said of what he hopes to add to Rhinos’ side over the next three years.
“I want to bring the strength of my attacking to the team.
“Hopefully, I will bring some energy to the team and get the boys together.
”It is not going to be easy [in Super League], it is going to be tough, but I am looking forward to the challenge.”
Hurrell was Leeds’ first marquee signing, meaning part of his wage is exempt from the salary cap.
He knows there will be high expectations, but insisted: “I would have put pressure on myself anyway, but they have signed Tui [Lolohea] and Trent [Merrin]; they are the marquee players, I am just one of the players who’ve got signed.”
He added: “I am a bit nervous, it is a new challenge for me, but I am excited at the same time.
“I will do my best and see how it goes. I am excited to be here. I signed my contract a while ago and I just wanted to be here.
“I’m finally, finally here and I’m looking forward to it.”
Hurrell said positive reviews of the club influenced his decision to sign for Leeds, along with the presence of his friend and former Titans team-mate Nathaniel Peteru.
I would have put pressure on myself anyway, but they have signed Tui [Lolohea] and Trent [Merrin]; they are the marquee players, I am just one of the players who’ve got signed.Leeds Rhinos’ Konrad Hurrell
Hurrell also worked with Dave Furner during the new Rhinos boss’ spell as Tonga’s assistant-coach. He said: “Dave spoke to me about it before I signed and it is a very successful club too.
“They won the competition last year; this year wasn’t too good, but that happens. For them to be willing to get me to come here, to see a club that want you and want you to be involved in what they want to do for the future is good.”
Hurrell has played in England before, starring for Tonga in the 2013 World Cup. That gave him a taster of what to expect from Super League crowds.
“I have heard some crazy stuff about the fans,” he said. “I am excited about it, obviously sometimes it’s not that packed, but they make it sound like it’s a full stadium.
“Playing in front of great fans with a great fanbase always gives you a bit of extra motivation.
“I’ve heard they make songs about the players so I am looking forward to being involved in those moments.”
Lolohea, Hurrell and marquee recruit Merrin – who is due to arrive next week – are all set to play on Boxing Day.
“It is going to be my first time wearing the jersey and I am excited,” Hurrell said.
“I know it is going to be a big crowd and I am looking forward to it.”