He is set to be one of the biggest stars in Super League this season, but Konrad Hurrell has revealed that in the past he had decided against a move to the competition.
Hurrell made his debut for Leeds last weekend when they traveled to Warrington as part of a mouthwatering opening weekend of fixtures. The Tongan superstar has been billed as one of the biggest new imports into the competition this season – along with Rhinos team-mates Tui Lolohea and Trent Merrin.
However, he has now revealed that although in the past he turned down an opportunity to join a Super League club, this was the right time to make the move.
“I had an opportunity to come here a couple of years ago, he said, “but I wanted to make sure it was right.
“It was via (Doncaster CEO) Carl Hall, who mentioned Hull FC and how there was an opportunity here, but I told him I was still wanting to repay the (New Zealand) Warriors. They taught me the game and I wanted to give something back to them.
“It was hard to say no now though, with Dave Furner taking over and the way the club is building. It was very difficult to turn it down so I jumped at it with both hands. And with Tui and Trent committing too, it’s easier to go somewhere new with a few familiar faces.”
Hurrell’s emergence as one of the biggest talents in world rugby league is all the more impressive, given that he didn’t even start playing the game until the age of 20.
The Tongan international had previously been an out-and-out rugby union player, but at the end of his teens he accepted that a career in the 15-man code was unlikely to materialise.
“I had an opportunity with a scholarship in New Zealand when I finished school,” Hurrell continued, “although my family couldn’t afford to stay there.
“One of my friends from school was in the under-20s at the Warriors and he asked me to give it a go so I thought – why not? So I asked for a chance, they gave me a trial and signed me for the under-20s.
“I played union my whole life in Tonga until I was 18, played union for a couple of years in New Zealand and then I got lucky. I worked hard and now I’m here.”