Triumphant Tonga Test star Konrad Hurrell still buzzing on return to Leeds Rhinos
Super League Dream Team star Konrad Hurrell says it’s “good to be back” with Leeds Rhinos after his stunning exploits with Tonga.
The powerful centre has enjoyed a wonderful autumn with his homeland, helping them earn historic maiden wins over both world champions Australia and Great Britain.
“I’m back now and the off-season trip was pretty good,” said Hurrell, the ‘marquee’ signing who scored 14 tries in 25 games in his debut campaign.
“Obviously I played for Tonga and got our first win against Great Britain and Australia which was pretty amazing.
“But it’s good to be back with the boys. It’s been tough (training) but I’m good.
“The buzz is there and it feels good when everyone is enjoying it.
“It’s good to come in and see the boys ready for 2020.”
Hurrell says he has enjoyed being able to have international bragging rights – “yes, especially over Kev (Sinfield)!” – but is now concentrating on helping return Leeds to winning ways, too.
“After this year, 2019, it has been a really tough year, not just for us (players) but the club as well,” he said, with Rhinos fighting against relegation for the third time in four seasons.
“The boys have been getting flogged in training almost every day.
“But coming in and seeing them we have an exciting adventure for next year.”
Leeds will have a new recruit joining them soon, too, after completing a deal for Cronulla Sharks prop Matt Prior – someone former Gold Coast Titans star Hurrell knows well from his own time in the NRL.
“He’s a very good signing for us,” he said.
“We needed a big body and he’s a guy that will work hard for you and that’s what you need in this team.
“He’s really good on ‘d’ (defence) as well and we need someone like that in the middle who will just tackle all day.
“He’s a great signing for the club and I’m glad we’ve got him.
“Hopefully he’ll come in and enjoy it like us boys have.
“It’ll be a bit cold for him but he’ll rip in 100 per cent. Obviously he’s won a Grand Final and it’s good to have someone of that experience as we have a lot of young boys.”
New South Wales State of Origin forward Prior is the latest high-profile NRL star to join up with Super League for 2020 on the back of Sonny Bill Williams, James Maloney and Gareth Widdop.
That has prompted talk about a potential revival of the Exiles concept – overseas players starring in Super League who came together to face England on four occasions between 2011 and 2013.
Hurrell, 28, would be an obvious contender for any such representative side.
And he said: “It looks pretty good. I don’t know if I’d make the team but it looks exciting. There’s a lot of players signed from the NRL at the moment and it’d be exciting for the fans as well.
“It’d be good.”
Meanwhile, Hurrell and Leeds team-mates Ava Seumanufagai – who is of Samoan descent – and Robert Lui are trying to raise funds to help the ongoing issues in Samoa.
In worrying scenes that are hard to comprehend here, it began a two-day shutdown on Thursday following a deadly outbreak of measles. Authorities in the Pacific island nation have started an unprecedented mass vaccination campaign to try and contain the outbreak that has so far killed more than 60 people, mostly small children.
“The measles outbreak has seen 62 people die,” said Hurrell.
“We have got this jersey and got our names on there with all the boys signing it.
“We just want to help raise some funds and send it off to help on behalf of the boys and the club.
“It might not be much but every little helps and it’s appreciated over there.”