When NRL stars come to the Super League at the back end of their career, they are sometimes accused of hunting one last pay day.
That could not ring true for former St George Illawarra Dragons and Cronulla Sharks forward Matt Prior, who has embraced UK life since making the move to the Leeds Rhinos ahead of the 2020 Super League season.
In that time, the Aussie has hardened his reputation for being a tough and uncompromising player, but believes that his pre-season ahead of 2022 is one of the best he has involved in with head coach Richard Agar.
“I’ve been looking forward to playing, Rich has really increased the level of professionalism with the things he’s brought in,” Prior said.
“It’s probably been one of the better pre-seasons I’ve been involved in.
“Like every year you go in optimistic that you can win the competition and hopefully we can do something special this year.”
At 34 years of age, Prior realises that the next two pre-seasons may well be his last after signing a two-year deal with the Rhinos in 2021.
“I think so, at my age I don’t think I’ve got too many years in me.
“I’ll go back to Australia, but I’ve got nothing lined up, it’s a little bit far on the horizon at the moment.
“It’s probably something I should think about, but I’ve not really thought about it post-career, I do think about it occasionally and I’ve got a few things lined up.”
For Prior, the move to the UK has been one that he will always been remember – and he hailed Leeds in the process.
“It’s been great, the first year with Covid was a bit annoying for everyone and that’s what it was like for everyone.
“I’ve got to do some travels and I’ve seen plenty of England and been to a couple of countries which has been good.
“The club itself has been a good club to be at and I’ve been lucky to be here.”
Prior missed Leeds’ victory over Hull FC in Tom Briscoe’s testimonial due to a ‘muscle injury’, but confirmed that he is ready to go for the new season.
“It’s all good, it was a slight little strain on my groin, nothing serious but it was something that didn’t need to be pushed in a trial and maybe risk making it worse.
“I needed the rested and hopefully I’ll be back Friday training with the boys.”