Leigh skipper Micky Higham has signed an extended contract with the club until the end of 2018.
The next year (2017) is a playing contract and the second year (2018) has an option at the Club’s discretion, either as a playing contract or as a role on the coaching or conditioning staff.
Higham has been in outstanding form since rejoining his hometown club from Warrington Wolves midway through the 2015 season for a £50,000 fee, a club record for the summer era.
After making his Leigh debut in 1999 and coming to the fore in the pivotal 2000 season, he then embarked on a career at the top level.
The 35-year old is closing in on the rarely achieved landmark of 500 career appearances – his tally currently stands at 478 games with 124 tries.
“It seems only yesterday I made my debut for Leigh Centurions and the years have flown by,” Higham said.
“In 2000 we had realistic dreams of Super League and the grand final defeat was devastating.
“Sixteen years on if you look at the way the Club is structured on and off the field thanks to Derek’s massive vision, investment and determination we are vastly better prepared for the step-up when we do achieve our goal.
“It was fantastic to return to Leigh last season and extending my contract was an easy decision, it didn’t even need thinking about.
“Looking at the quality of people we have at the Club on and off the field this a very exciting time to be involved and I am also very proud of my role as captain.
“I feel I have unfinished business and am determined to reward Derek and Neil’s faith in me.”
Leigh Centurions Head Coach Neil Jukes said: “I am delighted that Micky is staying with us throughout my tenure as Head Coach. He has conducted himself impeccably on and off the pitch and led by example. He was a great choice as Captain this season.
“He sets the standards and it is important to show others that those standards can be met, which he does on and off the field.
“It was a very easy decision to extend Micky’s playing contract. At the end of 2017 there will be a decision to be made. As things stand he is one of the fittest members of the current squad and looks after himself and is a very good professional.
“In 2018 either way he will be involved. It’s important to have him on board as he is continually challenging standards to get higher.
“He’ll be involved either as a player or a staff member and when he says things he backs it up. We have a culture at the Club that set high standards and Micky hits the notes every week.”
Leigh Centurions owner Derek Beaumont said: “I am delighted to secure Micky at Leigh Centurions not only as a player but potentially beyond his playing days. He still has so much to offer on the field and is a born leader.
“His passion for this club is clear for all to see, not only in his performances on the field but his attitude and application off it. He is a general and is someone others around him look up to. He is self-motivated and able to drive those on around him.
“When his body tells him he has had enough he will be a great addition to the back room staff. I see Micky having a long career in rugby with Leigh long after he hangs up his boots.
“Whilst he has the knowledge of that security he can concentrate on his game and working towards that goal we all share of getting Leigh into Super League.”