Warrington Wolves v Leeds Rhinos - Matt Prior hoping to secure his Headingley future soon

AS he prepares for his fourth game in 11 days, Matt Prior admits he is loving life at Leeds Rhinos and should have a decision on his playing future in the next couple of weeks.

Busy schedule: Leeds Rhinos' Matt Prior is due to play his fourth match in 11 days this evening. Picture by Ed Sykes/SWpix.com
Busy schedule: Leeds Rhinos' Matt Prior is due to play his fourth match in 11 days this evening. Picture by Ed Sykes/SWpix.com

The Australian prop will line up at Warrington Wolves as Leeds seek a fourth successive win to continue their recent resurgence in Super League.

Prior was a revelation in his first season at the club last year, helping Rhinos win the Challenge Cup and claiming their player of the year with his consistently industrious displays.

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However, having returned home to Australia in the off-season, the former Cronulla Sharks forward contemplated not returning for the second year of his contract due to the extent of the ongoing pandemic situation here.

Prior, though, did eventually get back to England and picked up where he left off with some towering displays in the Leeds middle.

“My major concern was just the whole Covid thing,” he told The Yorkshire Post.

“But everything since I’ve been back has lifted and I’m just enjoying the summer.

“Being in Leeds has been really good and getting around the boys. I’m really glad I came back. My family is over and really enjoying it.”

Freinds reunited: The recent All Stars game gave prior chance to catch up with his old Cronulla team-mate Ricky Leutele of Huddersfield Giants. Picture Tony Johnson

Prior has an option of a third year at Emerald Headingley and head coach Richard Agar has already expressed how important the former New South Wales State of Origin player is in his squad. Asked about what he will do in 2022, the 34-year-old said: “I’m still in discussions with the club. I’m talking with my partner and seeing what’s best for us.

“I’m definitely keen about going around again. Hopefully we’ll be able to come up with a decision in the next couple of weeks and get it all sorted.”

In a hectic recent schedule, Prior played in Thursday’s 48-18 win over Leigh Centurions having also featured in last Sunday’s success at Salford Red Devils – which came less than 48 hours after he represented the Combined Nations All Stars in their victory over England.

The two-time NRL Grand Final winner enjoyed playing for Tim Sheens’s All Stars, his last representative game being his solitary appearances for New South Wales in 2018.

Happy: Matt Prior and his family are enjoying life in Leeds.(Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

“I probably didn’t think I’d get another chance to have another representative game,” said Prior, who was co-captain along with Wigan Warriors’ Jackson Hastings.

“It was awesome. I loved the camp, I liked the game and the whole concept is a great idea.

“It was good for me personally to get the chance to play against England.

“I’ve not got many representative games so just the opportunity to play an international team was pretty cool and something I’ll always remember.”

Alongside him in the All Stars side was Huddersfield Giants centre Ricky Leutele, a team-mate when Cronulla won the NRL title in 2016. Prior added: “That’s another thing. Catching up with blokes like Ricky who I already know and other guys in the camp that I know a bit but had a little bit more time to get to know.

“We spent some time with each other and I really enjoyed that aspect of it.”

Although there was no Warrington players in the All Stars side, there was five in the defeated England team – Mike Cooper, Daryl Clark, Joe Philbin, Ben Currie and Stefan Ratchford – who are all set to resume battles with Prior tonight.

Wolves are on a six-match winning run in Super League and Prior said: “They have been a pretty good team all year.

“We’ll have to be on our game. Their halves are playing really well and they have a good middle, too, with Mike Cooper, Daz Clark and those guys.

“We’re just expecting a good, tough, fiery game and I’m looking forward to it.”