Rob Lui: Leeds Rhinos star says 'if it wasn't for rugby league I'd probably be in jail'

Departing Leeds Rhinos stand-off Rob Lui says he might have ended up in jail if it hadn’t been for rugby league.

Tuesday, 21st September 2021, 4:45 pm

Lui will retire from the top level of the sport at the end of this season, though he is considering playing lower-grade rugby when he returns to his home state of Queensland after six years in England.

The 31-year-old made his farewell appearance at Emerald Headingley last Friday, scoring the opening try in Rhinos’ 36-12 win over Hull KR.

With Leeds going into sudden-death rugby from the start of the play-offs, at Wigan Warriors tomorrow, Lui knows every game could be his last.

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Rob Lui scores against Huddersfield, one of his five tries this season. Picture by Jonathan Gawthorpe.

Reflecting on his playing career and time in England, Lui, who admitted to off-field problems in Australia before moving to the UK, said he would like to be remembered as “someone who loved the game”.

He said: “You learn lessons through the game.

“I’ve had my ups, I’ve had my downs and had my low points, but then rugby league has brought me back to my high point.

“It gave me two kids, me and my partner are good and we’re looking forward to the next phase.

Rob Lui marked his final Headingley appearance with a try agianst Salford last week. Picture by Will Palmer/

“If it wasn’t for the game, I reckon I’d be back home living off I don’t know what.

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“If someone chats to me about what it was like in five years’ time, I’d say to them it’s great and I’d do it all over again.

Super League has made me find that love for rugby league again and that’s why I’ve stayed.

Rob Lui. Picture by Allan McKenzie/

“It has made me a better father and better person.”

Rhinos coach Richard Agar joked after last week’s game about persuading Lui, who was man of the match and has scored five tries in nine games this term, to stay on for another season.

Lui’s partner and children returned to Queensland earlier this year and Lui said: “To be honest, the missus has said it’s time to go home.

“It wasn’t fair keeping her here, away from her family, with the grandparents getting older and our boys getting older.

“I think I could go on for a couple more years but, as a family, we said I’ll go back, be a father.

“I will probably still play local rugby and be involved in the game. I have got a lot to give and to teach the young kids back home.”

But Lui wants to go out on a high and reckons last week’s win was a step in the right direction.

“It meant a lot to us, winning at home with a few of the boys playing their last game at Headingley as a Rhino,” he said.

“It was a good win for us; the belief it gives us going into this game.

“We want to go all the way, we have confidence in each other.”

Lui admitted tomorrow will be tough, but insisted: “We’re prepared.

“We have to go there and earn it.

“We have to earn every kick-chase, every tackle. I’m looking forward to it.”

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