Leeds sign Panthers forward Achurch
Rhinos are delighted to announce the capture of Penrith Panthers forward Mitch Achurch, 24, on a four year contract from the 2013 season.by NRL
Rhinos are delighted to announce the capture of Penrith Panthers forward Mitch Achurch, 24, on a four year contract from the 2013 season.
Achurch, who previously played at North Queensland Cowboys, broke into the Penrith NRL side this season. The 6'5" 18 stone forward has made eight appearances in the NRL so far this season for Penrith, including this weekend's defeat at Melbourne. His mother was born in London and moved to Australia as a teenager however Achurch is looking forward to coming back to the UK. He can play in the front row and back row but has also played in the centres.
He commented, "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. 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.
Leeds Rhinos Chief Executive Gary Hetherington said, "We are delighted to have signed a young player with outstanding potential on a long term contract from the NRL. 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."
Head Coach Brian McDermott added, "We are always looking to identify young talent both in Super League and elsewhere and Mitch is someone we were keen to sign once we have spotted his potential. 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."
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