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“I can see them going back to the glory days” – Rob Lui bids farewell to Leeds Rhinos

Leeds’ semi-final defeat to St Helens last night saw the curtain come down on Rob Lui’s long and illustrious career.

The stand-off made his name with Wests Tigers playing alongside Benji Marshall in one of the finest Tigers sides the NRL has seen as the side continually made the end of season play-offs.

He then starred at North Queensland partnering the sublime Johnathan Thurston before making the leap to Super League with Salford in 2016.

In his second year as a Red Devil, Lui helped Salford finish inside the top four after the regular 23-round season before forming a magnificent halfback pairing with Jackson Hastings in 2019 that helped Salford to a third-place finish.

He didn’t feature in their trip to the Grand Final however as he’d already made the move to Leeds in a swap deal for Tui Lolohea.

Lui made his debut for the Rhinos against Catalans as they desperately looked to finish the season strongly in order to avoid relegation. Lui, along with the arrival of Rhyse Martin and Ava Seumanufagai, helped kick start Leeds’ season as he provided organisation in attack helping them to eighth place in the table.

In 2020, he was joined by Luke Gale in the Rhinos halves and the pair guided Leeds to Wembley and a fourteenth Challenge Cup triumph.

2021, started with injury for Lui but, once he regained his fitness, he was a star man for the injury hit Rhinos helping the club to a second consecutive play-off appearance.

It all ended in defeat last night, but he certainly got Leeds headed in the right direction after a difficult 2018 and 2019. Now he heads off into retirement but, in an interview with the club website, he insisted he will always be a Rhino: “I’ll always be a Rhino, I’ll get up early, might even be on a boat somewhere, to support them all the way from North Queensland.

“There’s only going to be good things for the Rhinos going forward. I can see them going back to the glory days and winning trophies in the future and for me to be a part of that change it’s an honour.”

He also admitted that he was in tears at the end of yesterday’s game: “There’s a lot of young kids so I’ve mentored them and it hit me at the end when they all came around me and I was in tears, but I’m going to miss them kids and I told them that I’d be watching them because they’re the future.”

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