Leeds Rhinos have today confirmed the departure of centre Nene Macdonald.
Macdonald joined the Rhinos from the then Leigh Centurions prior to the 2023 season on an initial two year deal. This was later extended until the end of the 2027 season due to some solid performances, but he returned to Australia just one month later, and the club have now confirmed he will remain down under.
In a statement, Macdonald commented on his time at Leeds, saying: “I really enjoyed my time at the Rhinos and I am grateful for the opportunity and support from all the players and staff.”
Leeds Rhinos Chief Executive Gary Hetherington also commented on Macdonald’s exit, saying:, “Nene was very popular with our players and a favourite with our fans and we will miss him. We wish him well in his next venture and we will now focus on finding a replacement for 2024.”
During his time in Blue and Amber, Macdonald made 20 appearances and scored two tries.
Since his return to Australia in August, Macdonald has been linked with an exit from Headingley, and this speculation was taken to new heights after the centre was selected to represent PNG in a game against Australia Prime Minister’s XIII.
Whilst on international duty, he spoke to the Post-Courier on his future at Headingley.
“I came back to Australia for the birth of my child,” he told Post-Courier. “I signed a four-year deal, I’m still there and I don’t know what everyone is saying but I still got a four-year deal.”
He added: “I’m still contracted and I haven’t done anything wrong…we (Rhinos) can’t make the finals so I’m staying back and getting the chance to play and it’s just exciting to be back. It’s been too long like 2019 COVID and home and being away in England…miss being here and it’s good to be back home.”