Lachie Miller explains appeal of Leeds Rhinos move as Rohan Smith reveals fullback plan

LACHIE MILLER believes he will thrive under Rohan Smith after becoming Leeds Rhinos’ second confirmed signing for next season.

The Newcastle Knights fullback will move to England for the first time, having signed a three-year deal at Headingley.

Miller is a former Olympian, representing Australia at the 2020 Games (delayed a year by the pandemic) in rugby sevens.

In 2022, he moved back to Rugby League, the sport he grew up playing, appearing for Cronulla Sharks before moving to the Knights this season.

He started the campaign as first-choice fullback, playing in their first eleven games, but has not appeared since, and the NRL club has agreed to release him from his contract two years early to join Leeds.

“I really enjoyed my footy at the start of this season and I want to bring that to the Rhinos,” said the 29-year-old.

“It is a big change for my family. We have a newborn and two-year-old, so it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for us that we are ready to embrace and make the most of.”

Miller is noted particularly for his speed and he is excited to bring that to Super League under coach Smith.

“I have spoken to some good friends of mine who have been coached by Rohan and they say what a legend of a guy he is,” he added.

“His style of footy I think will suit the way I like to play and I knew from the moment we spoke on the phone that he was a coach I wanted to be associated with.”

Smith has in turn lost Aidan Sezer to the NRL after he agreed a deal with Wests Tigers, and although Miller can also play at halfback, the Leeds coach said his latest recruit would not be a replacement for Sezer.

“He will be coming here to play fullback, primarily, at this point in time,” said Smith.

“He is going to bring some attributes to that position we don’t currently have, but we are also well-equipped there with players who can play in support at fullback and play other roles.”

Miller joins Catalans Dragons forward Mickael Goudemand in signing from next season.

Leeds still have up to three overseas quota spots to use, with Blake Austin – now on loan at Castleford Tigers – expected to depart and both David Fusitu’a and Zane Tetevano – who has not played since suffering a stroke in training at the beginning of the summer – out of contract.

They have been linked with Canberra Raiders halfback Matt Frawley, who spent the 2019 season with Huddersfield Giants.

Meanwhile, forward James Donaldson has signed a contract extension to cover 2024.

Donaldson, 31, who has been at Leeds since 2019, has also been awarded a three-month testimonial, beginning in December, for services to the game ahead of what will be the Whitehaven man’s 16th professional campaign.

“I moved away from Cumbria when I was still at school to pursue my dream of playing Rugby League and, despite some ups and downs, I still love playing the game,” said the former Bradford Bulls and Hull KR player.