Rob Lui: Super League saved my career

Departing Leeds stand-off Rob Lui says rugby league probably saved him from jail.

The 31-year-old Australian is calling time on his professional career at the end of the season, which could come on Thursday when the Rhinos take on Wigan in the Super League elimination play-offs.

Lui is returning home to bring up his young family but says he will be forever grateful for his time in England and to the sport for saving him from a potential life of crime.

He was released from his contract with Wests Tigers in 2011 after pleading guilty to assaulting a former partner and was placed on a two-year good behaviour bond.

Lui rebuilt his career with North Queensland Cowboys and enjoyed a successful spell with Salford from 2016 to 2019 when he moved to Leeds as part of the deal that took Tui Lolohea to the Red Devils.

He was in the Rhinos team that beat Salford in the 2020 Challenge Cup final last October and is now hoping to bow with a Grand Final ring.

“Everyone wants a fairytale but, if it happens, it happens,” he said. “I’m just happy with each day and every step I take going forward.

“To be honest, Super League probably saved my career. I was down when I came here, I had a few dramas back home.

“Super League made me find that love for rugby league again. That’s why I’ve stayed here as long as I have.

“It’s made me a better father and a better person. I’ve also got a lot of friends here which I will miss.

“When I’m back home, if anyone comes up to me and asks me what it’s like in Super League, I’ll say I loved every bit of it and I’d love to do it again.

“To any players coming through back home, I’ll say take a chance because Super League is a great competition, with good people. I wish I’d played longer.

“I’ve had my ups and downs, I’ve had my low points but rugby league brought me back to a high point.

“Me and my partner have got two kids. If it wasn’t for the game, I reckon I’d be back home, probably in jail or something.”

Lui believes he could play on for another couple of years but insists it will not be in Super League after turning down the offer of a new contract from the Rhinos.

“My missus said it’s time to go home,” he said. “It wasn’t fair on her, keeping her away from her family with her grandparents getting older and the boys getting older.

“I think I could go on a couple of years but I’ll go back and be a father.

“I’ll probably still play local rugby and be involved in the game. I’ve still got a lot to give and I’d like to teach the young kids back home that, if you put your mind to something, you could end in Leeds playing Super League one day.”

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