Exclusive: Matt Moylan details Leigh Leopards switch, impromptu Leutele meeting and his drive to thrive in Super League

Aaron Bower
Matt Moylan Leigh Leopards

Matt Moylan - Photo courtesy of Leigh Leopards

Matt Moylan has revealed how an impromptu meeting with Ricky Leutele in Sydney paved the way for his shock move to Leigh – as the former Kangaroos international insists he was convinced to join the Leopards owing to a shared desire to win major trophies.

Moylan is one of the highest-profile arrivals to Super League in 2024. The 32-year-old, who has spent his entire career in the NRL, was granted a release from the final year of his deal with Cronulla Sharks to sign for Leigh on a big-money two-year contract.

He admits he had no intention of leaving Australia until a chance meeting with former Cronulla team-mate Leutele in the off-season.

That paved the way to a meeting with Leigh coach Adrian Lam, who flew to Australia personally to land Moylan’s signature.

And, speaking exclusively to Love Rugby League in his first interview since signing, Moylan admitted he would not have cut his NRL career short had he not felt an appetite from the Leopards to establish themselves as one of the leading sides in the British game.

“My plan was always to stay with Cronulla this year, but this came out of nowhere,” he admitted.

“It was an opportunity which was really sold to me when Lammy came out of his way just to have a meeting with me. I caught up with Ricky in Sydney in the off-season, he sent a photo of the two of us to Chezzy (Leigh head of rugby Chris Chester) and it rapidly moved on from there.

“Lammy was the big seller for me. Just the way he spoke about the club, his experiences here and what he wants to achieve… I felt excited for the first time in a while, you know? I didn’t have too much time to think about it, but eventually I decided it was time to do it.”

Matt Moylan details what convinced him to join Leigh Leopards: ‘The goal is to win a trophy’

Given the nature of how the deal came about, Moylan admits he didn’t know much about Leigh as a town or indeed about Super League. But he said that conversations with the Leopards‘ hierarchy allayed those fears and ensured him this was the best move for his career.

“I haven’t watched too much Super League of late,” he said. “I watched the World Club Challenge last year though, so I know that the talent and quality is here. It’s really high for sure, and I’m going to have to work really hard to fit in and adjust to the competition. But the ambition of the club was a big sell.

“Them having success in the Challenge Cup last year and competing in the Super League was a big thing in convincing me this was the right move. They’ve made huge step forwards as a club and we’re in a position where we can hopefully compete.

“It’s up to me to add to that. But the goal is to win a trophy and this squad definitely has the capability to do so. That’s a long way away in terms of where we are in pre-season but I didn’t come here to make the numbers up. That’s not what I’m about and I wouldn’t have signed if I thought that was what the club wanted to do.”

Moylan is expected to form a mouthwatering half-back partnership with Lachlan Lam in 2024 and he said: “The opportunity of coming over here, experiencing different footy, different weather and a different life is something I’m excited about and ready to go after it.

“Hopefully my best stuff is still ahead of me. That’s to find out, I guess. Getting older, you’ve got to put more work into your body and train more but the opportunity excites me – I just want the games to come round to be honest.”

Former Kangaroos star wants to help Challenge Cup winners lift more silverware

Leigh Leopards Challenge Cup Alamy Leigh Leopards lifted the Challenge Cup in 2023 – Alamy

Moylan concedes there are some regrets he has when he looks back on an NRL career which spanned over a decade but is, in all likelihood, now over. However, his one main frustration – failing to win a Grand Final in Australia – is something he believes he can put right during his time in England with Leigh.

“There’s things you wish you’d achieved more of but if someone had told me as a kid that was how my NRL career would play out, I think I’d be content about it,” he said.

“Obviously, winning a Grand Final would have been a huge achievement and with that side of it, not being able to do that, it’s a bit of a bummer but that’s footy.

“But there’s a chance here to do something really special. I wouldn’t have moved halfway around the world if I didn’t think that.”

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