Former Leeds Rhinos and Wakefield Trinity Wildcats back Lee Smith has signed for Leigh Centurions on a two-year contract.
Smith featured for Rhinos from 2005-2012, playing and scoring in three Grand Finals for them, each in a different position. He joined Wakefield in 2012, but moved to Newcastle Rugby Union Club the following year.
He made a brief return to Wildcats and had been on trial at Hull.
Smith is new Leigh boss Neil Jukes’s first signing since he took over from Paul Rowley last week.
Jukes said: “We met with Lee yesterday and obviously his CV speaks for itself. He’s played in Grand Finals and played for his country. What I needed to be sure of was that Lee still had the enthusiasm and desire to continue to achieve things in his career.
“Lee was blown away by the facilities at LSV and the quality of players we have in the squad.
“He has the hunger and desire to do well for Leigh Centurions and with his ability he will strengthen the squad across a number of positions.
“He will apply pressure from within for competition for places and that is good pressure because it will increase standards and ensure everyone stays focused on achieving our goals for the season ahead.”
Batley Bulldogs have a tough Championship opener at home to Leigh tomorrow but coach John Kear says there is no pressure on his team: “In all honesty nobody is expecting Batley to get anywhere near Leigh,” he said.
“It takes the pressure right off but it will allow us also to have a look at how we compare against a star-studded team with a wealth of talent who are very well coached.”
Batley will need to check on prop Alex Rowe, who had a knee clear-out after the Boxing Day game, but Sean ‘Paddy’ Hesketh and Brad Day will miss out.
Leigh’s Greg McNally is likely to be out for six months following a knee operation while Cory Paterson is rested.