Leeds Rhinos have this morning confirmed their third new recruit for 2019 in the form of Tongan international centre Konrad Hurrell who joins the club on a three-year-deal from the NRL’s Gold Coast Titans.
After a disappointing 2018 campaign where club legend Kevin Sinfield arrived mid-season in a director of rugby role following the departure of former head coach Brian McDermott, it was clear that big changes needed to be made on the field if the club were to return to the top of the table, something both Sinfield and Rhinos chief Gary Hetherington remarked on towards the end of the season.
It would seem that is now being acted upon and, following the earlier announcements of the signings of Callum McLelland and Tui Lolohea, the latter’s international teammate will be wearing the blue and amber in 2019. The 27-year-old is known for his powerful style of running and has made in excess of a hundred NRL appearances since making his debut for the New Zealand Warriors in 2012. He has also represented the Tongan international team in the past two World Cups and is one of the team’s reserves for this weekend’s huge match against Australia.
While linking up with Lolohea – a fellow arrival from the NRL – in 2019, Hurrell will also reacquaint himself with new Rhinos head coach Dave Furner who has, in the past, been an assistant coach of Tonga. Furthermore, Hurrell told the media that he is good friends with former Gold Coast Titans teammate Nathaniel Peteru, Leeds’ imposing prop. “I’m looking forward to getting to Leeds and especially having the chance to work with Dave Furner again,” he told the Rhinos’ official website.“I have done a lot with Dave in the Tongan camp over the last few years and he has helped me a lot. I am excited about the move and the next three years. One of my best mates is Nate [Peteru] and he has told me about what I can expect so I am excited about the move.”
Sinfield, keen to see his beloved Leeds return to their silverware winning ways in 2019 and beyond, was understandably delighted that Hurrell had penned a deal with the Headingley club. “Over the years, Rhinos fans have always loved a strong running centre and Konrad certainly fits that bill,” he explained. “He will provide a real strike threat for us in the centres and it is already exciting to think about Konrad and Kallum next season with our new look options at half back pulling the strings.”
It is expected that the club will be announcing further signings and departures in the not-too-distant future as the club seek to rebuild for 2019 and beyond.