Exclusive: Leeds Rhinos’ James Bentley reveals he almost moved here after St Helens exit

25-year-old James Bentley is already a Grand Final winner, but he is arguably going through the toughest patch of his career at present.

Since bursting onto the scene with Bradford Bulls and earning a move to St Helens, the nuggety second-rower has been on the tip of everyone’s tongues.

Unfortunately, that hasn’t been in the most positive light in 2022 so far with Bentley being given a number of cards – including just 20 minutes into his Leeds Rhinos debut against Warrington Wolves – and suspensions.

However, the 25-year-old is raring to go in the second half of the Super League season with his hometown club after a tough start, with new boss Rohan Smith helping the side considerably.

“I probably didn’t have the best start with everything that happened (with the bans) but I’m starting to build a few games together,” Bentley told Serious About Rugby League.

“I’m enjoying my rugby and now that’s the main thing.

“He’s (Rohan Smith) got the lads enjoying for each other and working hard. He’s simplified a few things and everyone is chipping in to get the results.

“I’m loving it and I’m enjoying being here and playing the sport that I love.”

Though Bentley has been sat out for a number of games in 2022, he knows he has had to make changes as the game progresses.

“It’s just the way the game is going isn’t it? I’ve just got to get on with it, it’s happened now and I’ve got to put it behind me and move on.

“There is no point wasting energy on something that can’t be changed.

“I understand where the game is coming from and thats the way it’s going. If that’s the way it’s going then we will have to change if we want to continue being rugby players.”

Having just won the Grand Final with St Helens, the decision to move to Leeds perhaps surprised a few people ahead of the 2022 season.

However, for Bentley it was an easy decision to make.

“Obviously to move back home and to play for the team I grew up supporting (was the main reason).”

“I had other offers and then I nearly went to Australia but I wanted to come to Leeds, that was the decision I made.

“I’m loving it and especially now I am enjoying my rugby.”

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