In the career of any NRL player, family plays a big part in the decisions that they eventually make – and for young Panthers forward Mitch Achurch, this was exactly the case, as the forward signed a 4-year deal with Super League Champions, the Leeds Rhinos.
It was a tough decision for Achurch to make, but with his mother born and raised in England, he feels an attachment to the area through his family, and he felt that the decision was best for him, after consulting with both his family, and the Leeds football club.
“I am really pleased to have signed for four years at the Rhinos. It was obviously a big decision for me, but my mum still has a lot of family in England, and this feels like the right decision for me,” Achurch said.
“Growing up, every kid dreams of playing in the NRL, and I have done that now, and it was flattering to have both Penrith and Manly keen to sign me. But, having spoken to Gary Hetherington and Brian McDermott, I am really pleased to join up with the Rhinos. I think the Super League competition will suit my natural game, and I am excited about coming over to England for the next four years at least, but hopefully longer.
“My first focus is coming over and doing my best for Leeds Rhinos, but obviously with my heritage that would make me available for England and the World Cup next year. There is a long way to go between now and then, and I need to be playing well, but training and playing with world class players at the Rhinos can only help me to develop as a player,” added Achurch.
Gary Hetherington, who is the Leeds Chief Executive, said that the club was pleased to have acquired the services of Achurch, at their club.
“We are delighted to have signed a young player with outstanding potential on a long term contract from the NRL,” said Hetherington.
“In the current market, it is becoming increasingly difficult to sign players who are at the peak of their game from Australia, however the challenge is to spot emerging talent and we believe we have got an exciting prospect in Mitch, who will fit in well with the dynamic within our current squad.”
Leeds Head Coach Brian McDermott is also pleased with the signing of the young forward, who can play both at prop, and in the back-row.
“We are always looking to identify young talent both in Super League and elsewher,e and Mitch is someone we were keen to sign once, we have spotted his potential,” said McDermott.
“At 24, he is obviously not the finished product, but it has been great to speak to him and hear his appetite to develop and fulfil his potential here at the Rhinos, over the next four seasons.”