New Hull KR signing Ryan Bailey believes the responsibility that come with the move will ultimately make him a better player.
Within a week of Rovers announcing the departures of forwards Justin Poore and Neville Costigan they had snapped up the former England international, who has been a one-club player since making his Leeds Rhinos debut in 2002.
After enjoying a testimonial season with the Rhinos last year and with a year remaining on his Headingley contract, many thought the 30-year-old would see out his career at his home town club. But for Bailey it was an opportunity that he couldn’t turn down.
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“As well as adding some presence up front and some grunt to the side I will be one of the senior players at the club,” Bailey told League Express.
“At Leeds there have always been so many leaders that sometimes it was pretty hard to shine. But if I can play to my potential at Hull KR I’ll hopefully stand out on the field and become a leader on it. There will be more onus on me there to do that and I will become a better player for that added responsibility.
“The move escalated pretty quickly but it was something I needed to do.
“It was a personal goal of mine to test myself somewhere else. I had won everything at Leeds and played in 18 finals. That became the norm really and it was all a bit comfortable. I wanted a new test and this chance for something new has come at the right time for me.
“It is going to be hard to leave Leeds, but I have had a lot of support from the guys there and the fans. So as long as I still have their respect that’s important for me.
“This will be a new chapter in my life and my career, and I am looking forward to getting involved there and preparing for that opening game of the season.”
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Bailey will not have to wait long to come up against his former team, as Hull KR host the Rhinos on the opening weekend of the coming season.
He knows it will be a strange experience for him, but it is one he is looking forward to.
“I can’t believe the way it has worked out and that Hull KR’s first game is against Leeds. But it will be nice to get that one under my belt early on,” added Bailey.
“It will be strange when I first put the jersey on and run out against Leeds. But once the game gets started it will be all guns blazing and I’ll be looking to do my best for Hull KR.
“I know every nook and cranny of the Leeds players, so no doubt people will be picking my brains ahead of the game and hopefully we can come up with a master plane to get a win on the opening day.”