New Leeds Rhinos recruit James McDonnell has his say on Leigh Centurions’ Super League credentials

On Friday night, Leeds announced the signing of James McDonnell on a two year deal.

The young second-row / centre made headlines with a superb solo try against Catalans at the end of last season for Wigan and is very highly thought of.

After that, the backrow starred for the England Knights under Paul Anderson and has spent this season improving at Leigh.

A big powerful yet mobile unit, McDonnell was highly sought after but the Rhinos won the race to his signature and he will join them next year on a two-year deal.

That means he’ll see the season out at Leigh as they chase promotion back to Super League. When speaking about his move to the Rhinos on their website, McDonnell spoke very highly of the Centurions believing they belong in Super League and relishing the support he has received from older players.

He said: “I am enjoying playing with Leigh in the Championship and feel it will be a great preparation for me to join up with Leeds next season. The squad at Leigh is a tight knit family and I am being helped by some very experienced players who have played State of Origin or for their country. It is a Super League standard squad and hopefully I can help them achieve their goals this year and get them back to where I believe they should be, in Super League.”

He got over the line for the Centurions today as they continued their quest for Super League status.

Either way he will be playing Super League next season but not for parent club Wigan but Leeds of course and he opened up on why he was tempted to join Leeds from Wigan ahead of next season.

“Leeds is a massive club and I was really pleased to accept their offer,” McDonnell said, “Working with Rohan Smith was a big pull for me. He was the first person I met and had a conversation with and he is the type of coach I want to learn from. This will be my first step outside of Wigan but I am looking forward to moving over to Leeds and starting a new chapter. I came over to Headingley a few week ago and Rohan gave me a tour around the stadium, which is world class.

“The good thing for me is that I know a lot of the lads from England camps so I am not going blind into a new environment because I have already got some good mates there.

“You can see already the difference that Rohan is having on the squad and this is a new start for me and I want to have success with the Rhinos. The club has a massive fan base and hopefully we can give them plenty to celebrate. “

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