Rob Lui admits he knew he would leave Salford at the end of this season before his surprise mid-season switch to Leeds: saying it was time for a change after four seasons with the Red Devils.
Lui has signed for the Rhinos on a deal until the end of the 2021 season, in a move which saw Tui Lolohea head in the opposite direction to the AJ Bell Stadium.
Lui’s future has been subject to intense speculation for months, and the 29-year-old has now revealed he was always likely to leave Salford after this season no matter what.
“I felt like I was going to leave,” he said. “Deep down I knew I was going at the end of the year and it was time for a change, but my son’s schooling is important to me and my family because he’s autistic. Eventually I decided I had to focus on rugby and that if I perform, something will happen. Rugby is the provider for my family – and I’m honoured Leeds have come in.”
Lui admits the opportunity to play for Leeds is extra satisfying due to the fact he was able to sign for a club he has followed with keen interest since he was a youngster in Australia: giving him the chance to link up with a Rhinos great he has always admired.
“It’s all happened quite quickly. The interest was always there from Leeds but after I played against Castleford and over the weekend.. boom, boom and suddenly, I’m here. But I don’t mind that, I love being here. I needed a change – what I did at Salford I loved and I’m older and wiser, and I know what I’ve got to do here at Leeds. I’ve got to have faith in the coaches, be there for the boys.. and come Sunday, I think we’ll be a different team.”
Lui will make his Leeds debut at Headingley on Sunday as the Rhinos host Catalans, and he admits he’s eager to try help his new club climb the table as quickly as possible, with just ten games remaining this season.
“My priority is to help Leeds get out of trouble.. but all it takes is one or two wins and you’re looking up the table,” he insisted.
“It’ll be great to make my debut at Headingley. You pinch yourself every time you go to the stadium because there’s a lot of history around there. I got shown around there the other day and I loved it, but I’m here to do a job: to perform on the field. It’ll be great to have the fans backing me; hopefully, we can get them a win and they can sort a song for me!”