Sam Lisone explains why he signed for Leeds Rhinos after turning down rival Super League interest as he eyes fitness race

MOVING to the other side of the world to play rugby league can be quite daunting.

A new culture, a new way of life, a new club, new teammates and a new environment. To settle into that seamlessly takes some doing.

But for Leeds Rhinos new signing Sam Lisone, the transition has been a simple one given the welcome he has been afforded by his new club.

After making 48 appearances in three seasons for the Gold Coast Titans, the 28-year-old will be a part of Rohan Smith’s revolution at Leeds – and how he has revealed what swung it in the Rhinos’ favour despite rival Super League and NRL offers.

“I’ve settled in well, the boys are really lovely. It’s a great club and I’m happy to be a part of it,” Lisone told League Express.

“There were a couple of offers there from Super League and in the NRL, but Ro (Rohan Smith) convinced me to join. I’ve known him for a while from when we were at the Warriors together. I was just a teenager.

“David Fusitu’a was in my ear and Bodene Thompson too. They basically told me how good of a club it was and that I needed to get over here! It also presents a new environment and a new challenge and takes me out of my comfort zone.”

Lisone has one main objective in 2023: to get fitter.

“I want to stay fit and healthy and play some good footy. I want to learn as much as I can off Ro (Rohan Smith) and my teammates.

“We are still working on stuff, I’m trying to get my body right and trying to get fitter. I also need to get on top of my niggles. i

Lisone enjoyed his first hit out in Leeds colours against the Leigh Leopards last weekend and expressed just how good the culture is at Headingley.

“It was an alright start, but it was pretty hard after just a month being here. It was challenging to remember the plays but I was really excited to put on the Leeds jersey and run out there with my new teammates. It was something to build on.

“The vibe is good, it’s a great club. Everyone is very welcoming and everyone is wanting to train hard and get redemption for the loss in the Grand Final last year.

“It takes a lot of people to build a culture at a club, Ro has done a big job in creating it but everyone is buying into it.

“There’s the staff, Gary (Hetherington – Leeds CEO), and the players. It takes everyone to embrace the culture and make it special.”