Leeds Rhinos have this afternoon confirmed the signing of centre Nene Macdonald from Leigh Leopards.
The Papua New Guinea international links back up with former coach Rohan Smith at Headingley, with the pair previously working together at Norths Devils in the Queensland Cup competition in Australia.
And speaking about his decision to join the eight-time Super League Champions, Macdonald revealed that Smith and PNG team-mate Rhyse Martin convinced him to make the move over the Pennines.
“Joining up with Rohan again was a big part of me coming to Leeds,” said Macdonald. “He backed me when I needed somewhere to go when he signed me at the Devils and we won a Championship together, if he wanted me, I was keen to jump on board.
“I was talking to Rhyse Martin a lot when we were in camp with Papua New Guinea and he was so positive about the club.
“He has always been a big influence on my career, we first played alongside each other in the U20s at the Roosters, and I have always looked up to him. He’s a good bloke and I trust his advise.”
There was also another key figure in helping Macdonald make his mind up in the shape of former Leeds treble-winning hooker Paul Aiton.
“Paul Aiton told me that if Leeds Rhinos offer me a chance, that I have to take it with both hands,” Macdonald added.
“He loved his time at Headingley and he said his only regret was that he didn’t stay longer.”