Championship club Leigh have pulled off a major coup in signing NRL forward John Asiata ahead of the 2022 season.
The 28-year-old loose forward has made 139 NRL appearances for North Queensland Cowboys and Brisbane Broncos. He won the NRL Premiership with the Cowboys in 2015 and the World Club Challenge the following year.
Asiata was born in Australia to a Samoan father and a Tongan mother. He has represented both of the Pacific nations on the international stage.
On joining Leigh, Asiata said: “I just want to say how grateful I am for the opportunity. It’s been a long and tough couple of months; but I’m excited for this next challenge and the journey ahead with my family and to be part of this proud club.
“To the fans and the sponsors, my message is ‘be excited’. 2022 is going to be a great year!
“I know that the boys are going to be giving it their all; and are working hard in training to be the best they can be, to make sure we can put in the performances week in and week out.
“I’m excited to be able to put on the jersey; to represent you all and run out to a loud, cheering crowd.”
Leigh Centurions boss over the moon to sign John Asiata
Leigh head of rugby Chris Chester said: “It is not often that such a quality player becomes available on the market.
“Adrian and I found out about John’s availability and acted quickly. There were lots of clubs in the Super League and Championship chasing his signature, so to persuade John that his future lay at Leigh Centurions was a real team effort.
“Adrian (Lam), Derek (Beaumont), me and our chairman have all spoken to John in the last two weeks. What sold the club above all else was what it does in the community and how the club is so family orientated.
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“Derek spoke to John at length about the vision of Leigh Centurions. We are really delighted that he has agreed to sign for us.
“John is a really good fit for the club, one of the final pieces in the jigsaw. He is primarily a lock but can play half-back or on the edge. He’s got versatility and he’s a good ball player so he will be an excellent link between the forwards and both edges.
“John is a really humble and nice guy and he’s big into helping others and the community, so he will love being at our club and living locally.”