Leeds Rhinos, Wigan Warriors, Warrington Wolves, Hull FC and Hull KR have all completed impressive signings including from the NRL but only one club has drafted in a former Olympic Athlete.
Wigan Warriors are bringing back former Huddersfield Giants and Leeds star Kruise Leeming, Warrington have beaten a number of clubs to the signing of Lachlan Fitzgibbon from down under.
Hull FC have drafted in Herman Ese’ese from the NRL whilst Hull KR have signed Oliver Gildart and Peta Hiku but it is Leeds Rhinos who have signed a former Olympian in the shape of Lachie Miller.
Miller, who joined the Knights this season from Cronulla Sharks, grew up playing Rugby League but forged a career in Rugby Union Sevens going on to play for Australia and represent his country at the 2020 Olympic Games.
He has made eleven appearances at full-back for the Knights this season but can also play in the halves.
Commenting on signing for the Rhinos, Miller said, “I am looking forward to joining such a prestigious club as Leeds Rhinos and excited to come across having spoken with Rohan and Gary to be part of the culture at Headingley.
“I really enjoyed my footie at the start of this season and I want to bring that to the Rhinos. It is a big change for my family, we have a newborn and two-year-old so it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our young family that we are ready to embrace and make the most of.
“I watch a fair bit of the Super League competition on TV over here in Australia and I am fortunate to be joining such a great club and hopefully I can add to the culture. I know the club has a history of mixing a core young English lads with the overseas guys and I can’t wait to play in front of the passionate Leeds fans at Headingley.
“I know there are a lot of connections between the Knights and the Rhinos over the years but I haven’t spoken to Brian McDermott or Danny Buderus yet about the club as we have been trying to get the deal done, I’ll definitely be seeking any advice they can give me though. I have spoken to some good friends of mine, Brandon Lee and Tyson Gamble, who have been coached by Rohan and they say what a legend of a guy he is. His style of footie, I think, will suit the way I like to play and I knew from the moment we spoke on the phone that he was a coach I wanted to be associated with,” added the 29-year-old.
Head Coach Rohan Smith added, “Having spoken to people about Lachie, everyone speaks about him being well respected and highly regarded by those who have worked with him. He is a quick, broken-field runner who is gaining in experience all the time having come across to League from Rugby Union later in his career. I think he will fit in well with our squad for next season and the plans we have for our style of play moving forward.”
This offsets the news of Aidan Sezer’s departure.
The 32-year-old will return to the NRL after four seasons in the Super League. He has signed for the Wests Tigers.
Before moving to England Sezer played 155 games across eight seasons in the NRL, including a Grand Final appearance for the Raiders in 2019.
Wests Tigers assistant coach Benji Marshall, who will move into the head coaching role next season, says Sezer will bring a wealth of experience to the club.
“We are very excited to have a player with Aidan’s experience and calibre to add to what we’re building for our future,” said Marshall.
“He’s a very good person and we look forward to what he can bring to our club on and off the field.
“His experience will complement our youth and he’ll help mentor our younger players, particularly in our spine.”
Wests Tigers CEO Justin Pascoe is pleased to welcome Sezer to the club.
“It’s great that Aidan has decided to return to the NRL with us,” said Pascoe.
“On behalf of the club, I welcome Aidan and his family to Wests Tigers.”
Sezer still has a chance left at a big hoorah at Headingley. The Rhinos are now just two points off the play-offs and have the best points difference of any side pushing for a spot in the top six.
The halfback will be key if Leeds are going to find a way to make the play-offs and push to Old Trafford as they did last year.
Last year Sezer missed out on the final after a head injury in the semi-final.