BIG Australian Keith Galloway “ticks all the boxes” on Leeds’s list of what they want from a front-rower said chief executive Gary Hetherington after Rhinos confirmed Galloway’s signing on a three-year deal beginning next season.
The 29-year-old has played five Tests for Australia, including all four during their 2011 Four Nations campaign, and once for New South Wales in State of Origin.
He has more than 200 appearances in the NRL with Cronulla Sharks and Wests Tigers and is one of the players Rhinos hope will step up to the plate after Jamie Peacock and Kylie Leuluai retire at the end of the season.
“He ticks all the boxes,” Hetherington said. “He is an experienced player with some real leadership quality about him. He has played at the highest level, but he has still got plenty of games left in him. He is ambitious to come over here and be part of a successful team and win things.
“He has played Test matches and State of Origin, but he has never won anything at domestic level. That is a burning ambition of his and we are giving him an opportunity to do that.”
Galloway told his Wests Tigers team-mates about the move yesterday, following their NRL game with Sydney Roosters.
He had a year left on his contract and Hetherington said: “He is someone Brian [McDermott, Rhinos’ coach] identified at an early stage and as soon as we talked to him he was enthusiastic about coming.
“He could have stayed in the NRL, but the timing is right and it is something he has always wanted to do. Along with his agent, he had to sort his own release out from Wests and they have been as good as gold about it. They have their own salary cap issues and things have come together quite quickly. One advantage is he won’t be on the [overseas] quota.
“He has a British passport, his parents are Scottish and he is really enthusiastic about playing for Scotland.
“He is a really good signing for us, on the back of Mitch Garbutt [who joined Rhinos last month].
Galloway is 6ft 5ins and tips the scales at more than 16 stone.
Known for his powerful running and strong defence, he said: “It is a different style of competition, but I have watched it on TV and the chance to go over there and play in Super League is something that excites me.
“I am pretty close with Pat Richards and he’s obviously off to Catalans next season.
“He loved his time in England and when I mentioned to him that I was thinking about heading to the Super League competition he told me I would love it.
“When people like that tell you how good it is you take those comments on board.”
Galloway added: “One of the reasons I was sold on the Rhinos was the chance to be part of a team that is competing for silverware.
“I have never tasted success at senior level and hopefully I can achieve that at Leeds.
“I know the team are going really well and I am looking forward to watching the boys for the remainder of the season so I can familiarise myself with everyone’s names and get to know how the team plays before I get over here.
With Galloway’s arrival, Leeds have decided to release fellow prop Andy Yates, the former Hunslet Hawks front-row who has joined Wakefield Trinity Wildcats on an 18-month deal with immediate effect.
Long-term casualties Tom Briscoe and Jamie Jones-Buchanan could both return for Leeds against Catalans.
Briscoe has not played since suffering a shoulder injury in Rhinos’ defeat at Warrington Wolves four months ago.
The winger has been named in tomorrow’s initial 19-man squad, so Ash Handley drops out.
Back-rower Jones-Buchanan has been struggling with a hamstring injury and featured in only three of the past 18 games.
Also recalled are Kevin Sinfield, who missed last week’s trouncing of Salford Red Devils due to a shoulder injury and Jamie Peacock, after he was rested. Robbie Ward is the other player to drop out.
Star man Todd Carney has been named in Catalans’ squad after almost two months on the injured list.