The NRL is a tough nut to crack, and whilst players may be talented, at times, even that does not mean automatic selection into a team – and for Joe Vickery, that was exactly the case, as he looks ahead to the new chapter in his life, a 3-month trial with English Super League side, the Leeds Rhinos.
Vickery, who is a St George junior, spent the majority of the year at the Titans feeder side, the Tweed Heads Seagulls – scoring 17 tries in the process for the club.
The 23-year old centre and winger was approached by rivals Hull FC at one stage, but Vickery chose to trial with the Leeds Rhinos, as he looks forward to the move back to his native England.
“It is a great opportunity for me and one I want to make the most of. I was born in Exeter and moved to Australia when I was four, so it is great that my sport has brought me back to England. I played football growing up and spent three weeks on trial at Liverpool when I was 15 along with six other players from Australia, so it is not the first time that I have been back. I started playing Rugby League after that at school and haven't looked back since then,” said Vickery.
ckery will not be alone at the club, with former Panther Mitch Achurch, also with ties to England, to be his room-mate, with the two able to share stories.
“This is a great chance for me to step up to another level. I am living with Mitch Achurch to start with which is certainly helping me to get settled in, plus I have someone else to talk to about how cold the weather is! My manager told me about the interest from Leeds and I was so excited about the chance to join the best team in the competition. Hull FC offered me a deal during last season but things didn't work out in the end, however, it is great that I can now come over here and show what I can do,” added Vickery.
Gary Hethrington, the Rhinos Chief Executive, said that the plan is to see Vickery in all of the club's trial games, before making an eventual decision on his future, as to whether the club retains him for the entire season.
“Joe has experience of training with the Gold Coast Titans and has been playing regularly in a good side in the Queensland Cup. He is English and has good speed and strength. He will feature in all our pre-season games and we will make a decision on whether he remains for the rest of the season, before the new campaign kicks off.”