NATHANIEL Peteru says joining Leigh has helped him fall back in love with rugby league.

And he believes the blossoming partnership can help take his Super League career to as yet unseen heights.

The New Zealand born prop played 32 times for Leeds Rhinos in two seasons and just nine games for Hull KR in 2020.

In between, the one-time Gold Coast Titans forward tried to break into rugby union during trials for a couple of Italian clubs, Rovigo and Zebre.

Now 29, Peteru is excited by the challenge offered by John Duffy’s top flight new boys.

“It wasn’t the smoothest time at Leeds Rhinos during my time there,” he said of his stint at Emerald Headingley.

“I enjoyed it, but I felt like I needed a change of direction. I loved my time in rugby union.

“I learned a lot and had to humble myself and learn the basics of that game.

“So, I felt a fitter and more rounded player coming back into rugby league.”

And with coronavirus enveloping northern Italy and his partner expecting a baby back in the UK, Peteru made the decision to join Hull KR.

However, due to lockdown, it wasn’t until August 2020 he made his debut for Tony Smith’s Robins, 11 months after his final game in the 13-a-side code for the Rhinos.

“I was looking for a challenge that could take my game to the next level,” he said of Centurions’ interest.

“I felt if I joined Leigh and worked with John I could get to that goal. He’s a coach I feel I can learn off and improve.”

The two previously worked together during Peteru’s loan spell at Featherstone.

“We conversed a lot and it made me excited to start training. I am enjoying my time so far.

“I feel I am learning and improving every day. I feel the same about the team as well.

“We have made great strides in pre-season; so far so good.”

Peteru will make his debut against St Helens for Tommy Makinson’s testimonial on March 13.

And Leigh coach Duffy says most players will feature against Saints and also against Warrington for ex Leigh prop, Chris Hill’s testimonial.

“Everyone will get a good piece of playing time so we can have a look at them,” said Duffy who confirmed Ben Flower, James Bell and Tyrone McCarthy aren’t ready to face the 2020 Grand Final winners. “Some we will try in different positions as well so it is exciting.

“The lads are getting bored of the training pitch; they just want a game. And what a way to start.”