New Leeds Rhinos signing Lachlan Miller knows the high level of expectation at Headingley and says they are out to push for the finals and more next year.
Miller has arrived in Super League from the NRL’s Newcastle Knights after signing a three-year deal with Leeds.
The Rhinos finished eighth in 2023, winning only 12 of 27 games, and missed the semi-finals.
The Australian, who wants to establish himself at full-back, had two years to run on his Knights contract but decided to make the switch with his family to West Yorkshire.
“We were pretty set up in Newcastle, we really enjoyed it there,” he told Love Rugby League. “But at the same time with Kalyn (Ponga) going back to full-back it was really hard to get back to my preferred position.
“So then when I had a chat to Rohan (Smith) and Gary (Hetherington) over here, pretty much from the first time I spoke with them, it’s something that I’ve always wanted to do, to come over to the UK.
“I’m very fortunate that Leeds reached out as so far it’s been a great move and it’s a great club.
“It’s every club’s dream to go on and win the big dance. Obviously we’ve got some new signings and there’s a really good feel around the club.
“Everyone’s fit right in and it’s really exciting. We’d love to have a successful year and get back in the finals and from there see where it takes us.”
From league to union and back again: Lachlan Miller comes full circle in rugby career
He competed at the Tokyo Olympics with the Australian rugby sevens team and played club rugby in Sydney with Randwick, and admits he is still relearning about the 13-man game after his code switch.
“Growing up I always wanted to play sport, to play footy, and I think one day to play in the Olympics never really crossed my mind,” he said.
“But it was an awesome experience, something that I’ll never forget. It was a little bit weird as there were no crowds with Covid, but it was an amazing experience nonetheless.
“I found it harder switching from league to union because I grew up playing league. But switching to union, to sevens in particular, it’s really quick so all the micro details were magnified.
“But the switch back to league, the details just in the halves and at full-back, was a big learning curve. I’m still learning a lot as I’ve only been back for two years.
“There’s a lot more to learn but it’s been really good.”
A new-look spine for Leeds Rhinos in 2024
Leeds will boast a new spine in 2024 with Richie Myler, Blake Austin and Aidan Sezer departing, and the arrival of Miller and fellow Antipodeans Matt Frawley and Brodie Croft, as well as English hooker Andy Ackers.
The 29-year-old hopes the more free-flowing nature of Super League should suit his natural game.
“I can’t really speak too much as I haven’t been out there yet, but I’ve watched a few games and I’ve seen Bevan French and Jai Field a lot and they’ve really cut the game open,” he said.
“I think it will be a different challenge, it’s going to be really tough but I’m hoping the way our team and how Leeds wants to attack will really compliment the way I want to play.”
The Rhinos have not set a specific target for next season, but Miller understands the history and ambition of the club.
“There’s no talk amongst the team yet,” he said.
“It’s all been about the new guys fitting in and everyone’s been training really hard.
“(But) Leeds as a club have a really rich history with that golden era, so they always want to challenge for trophies.”