Achurch Backs Panthers To Get It Right

By STEVE MASCORD

HE’S one of the victims of the seismic changes at Penrith but young back rower Mitch Achurch has backed Phil Gould’s Panthers clean-out to be a success.

Achurch, 23, has quit the Australian game to join Leeds on a long-term contract and will line up against Melbourne in the World Club Challenge on February 22.

Mitch Achurch/Leeds Rhinos
Mitch Achurch/Leeds Rhinos

He left the foot of the mountains after only being offered a one-year deal by the regime of general manager Gould and coach Ivan Cleary.

“When Gus took over, you could tell that there was a bit of movement upstairs,” he tells Rugby League Week.

“Gus has got a vision and no-one’s going to stand in his way.

“You see Michael Gordon, Luke Lewis, they all moved on and they’re legendary players that any club would want. But he’s got a vision and he’s going to achieve it one way or another.

“It won’t be this year but I do expect big things from Penrith in the next few years and it’s a shame I couldn’t stay and be part of it.”

Achurch says the club’s plan to do “bigger things” –presumably sign stars like Johnathan Thurston – was given as a reason why he was only offered a one-year contract.

“The way my career was panning out in Australia – I won’t say it was going nowhere but it wasn’t your typical career where I played first grade, signed a big contract and everything went really well,” he explains.

“I was on the other end of the scale where I was on the fringe a little bit. Penrith gave me a go and they were looking to do bigger things next year and they couldn’t offer me more than a one-year contract.

“I thought I deserved a bit longer than that.

“To get in contact with the Leeds Rhinos, the team that wins the Super League … people think it’s a lesser comp but any team that wins a comp is alright by me.

“It’s not like I came over here to the team running last. I came to the champions and I haven’t regretted it yet.”

Filed for: RUGBY LEAGUE WEEK

 

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