Leeds Rhinos ‘the best place for me’ says Nene Macdonald after signing from Leigh Leopards

IF THERE was one name in the Championship that struck fear into the hearts of opponents in 2022, it was Nene Macdonald.

A blockbusting centre with the ability to swat off would-be tacklers with relative ease, the Papua New Guinea international tore the second tier up with Leigh.

The 28-year-old has now made a move to Leeds Rhinos.

“I had to weigh up where I wanted to be as a player and the best place for me and my family,” Macdonald told League Express.

“I will always choose my family, and I wanted to come to a bigger club and try something different, to be part of a club that can do great things this year.

“Taking home the Grand Final trophy is a big goal of mine. Learning about the club and its history and speaking to the boys already here, told me it’s a great club.”

To say Macdonald has settled into his surroundings is an understatement, with the centre enjoying every bit of his move to Headingley so far.

“It’s been very easy from day one. The boys have made me feel very welcome. I’ve been here a few months but it feels like I’ve been here two years,” Macdonald continued.

“Everyone knows each other and everyone is very friendly.

“Everyone is being a collective and that shows how a club should be successful – it’s got to come from the ground up from the Academy, staff and physios to the head coach.

Leigh, now rebranded as the Leopards, holds a special place in Macdonald’s heart but he cannot wait to take them on in 2023.

He said: “At Leigh, I had a great time. Obviously, you’re having a good time when you’re winning each week and winning comfortably. We all became very close there, so it was a really tough decision to leave.

“I hope they have a successful year and I hope they go well enough to stay up.”

The PNG star’s focus is now on being fit for round one and Leeds’ clash against Warrington Wolves.

“The goal is round one, but I don’t want to put myself out there saying that and then not get there. I’m taking it week by week,” he said.

“It’s feeling good, I’ve been back running and today I hit 100 per cent speed and I felt really good. I’ll take it day by day and if I can start hitting those levels each training session, then I can join the boys.”