Exclusive: Ex-Leeds Rhinos star reveals the inside story of how he backflipped out of big NRL offer to join the Rhinos

Much has been made about Super League’s ability these days to attract big names from down under these days, however in 2002 Gary Hetherington of Leeds Rhinos had no issue in attracting a big name from down under when he signed Matt Adamson from Penrith Panthers convincing him to backflip out of a major deal with a club he had given so much to.

Speaking exclusively to Serious About Rugby League, Adamson revealed the inside story behind how he came to join the Rhinos backflipping out of a major NRL deal.

“It was quite interesting I had agreed to terms verbally with Penrith to take on my 10th year,” Adamson said, “After 10 years of NRL with one club is a big deal, you get a lifetime membership so I was pretty excited but also a bit disappointed because that year we came last and I couldn’t see a forward future for the club and I felt we needed a clear out.

“The day I agreed to those terms verbally, I didn’t sign anything, Gary rang out of the blue. I don’t remember how he got my number and he said ‘I want you to come to Leeds.’

“I’d played Origin that year and he told me a bit about the club. I remember watching the St Helens, Wigans, and Widnes but I wasn’t in tune with who Leeds were, I didn’t know much about them except that my former test teammates Bradley Clyde and Brett Mullins had been there the year before.

“What I loved about Gary was, he said ‘If you want to come to Leeds, here’s your contract. If you don’t, that’s okay I’ll find someone else. I liked that approach because what I think that meant was ‘we believe in our club and our future and we want you to be part of it.’”

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