Lui admits he came desperately close to joining Hull KR in 2020

Robert Lui has revealed he was ‘so, so close’ to signing for Hull KR next season.

Lui, who made the switch to Leeds Rhinos last week with immediate effect, had been the subject of intense speculation over his future for 2020.

Out-of-contract at now-previous club Salford at the end of the current season, Lui had been expected to link up with former coach at Wests, Tim Sheens, at the Robins next year.

And the Australian half-back has shed light on just how close that move came to materialising before he switched to Headingley last week on a deal until the end of 2021.

He said: “It was so, so close. I’m very close with Tim, and he gave me my debut at Wests Tigers.. we’re family pretty much, and yeah, I was going to go there.

“But I believe everything happens for a reason, and that not happening means that I’m here. So it was meant to be at one stage, now it isn’t, and I wish Timmy all the best with what he does next. Hull KR wasn’t meant to be – but I’m very happy to be a Rhino for sure.”

Lui also admitted that even if he hadn’t switched to Leeds mid-season, he was always likely to leave to Salford at the end of this year anyway: saying it was time for a new challenge.

“I felt like I was always 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 and was a big part of my thinking, because he’s autistic. I eventually decided I had to focus on rugby and if I perform, something will happen. At the end of the day, rugby is the provider for my family – and I’m honoured Leeds have come in.

“It’s all happened quite quickly. The interest was always there from Leeds but I played against Castleford for Salford and over the weekend.. boom, boom, boom and suddenly I’m here.

“But I don’t mind that, I love being here at Leeds. I needed a change though – what I did at Salford I loved – but I’m older and wiser now, and I know what I’ve got to do here at Leeds. I’ve got to have faith in the coaches and I think we’ll be okay.”