Leigh Centurions are delighted to confirm that NRL forward Kai O’Donnell has become their latest signing and will join up with Adrian Lam’s squad in the next few days.
Brisbane born O’Donnell, 23, is a British passport holder with family links on his mother’s side from Ashington in the North-East.
O’Donnell is a back row or lock forward who has experience with three NRL clubs, Gold Coast Titans, Canberra Raiders, and Cronulla Sharks. He made his first-grade debut for the Raiders during the 2020 NRL season, making four appearances and scoring his first try in a victory over Canberra.
More recently he has been playing for Burleigh Bears in the Queensland Cup competition, coached by Rick Stone, father of Centurions forward Sam Stone.
Kai O’Donnell said: “I can’t wait to get over to the UK and join up with the team. I’ve already touched base with Caleb Aekins and John Asiata and I’m looking forward to seeing them and meeting my new teammates and the staff.
“I’m grateful to the Leigh Centurions club for giving me this opportunity. I’m looking forward to getting as many games as possible and helping the club achieve its goals.”
Head of Rugby Chris Chester revealed he and head coach Adrian Lam had both been tracking O’Donnell’s progress and that club owner Derek Beaumont had backed the signing with additional investment into the club.
“Kai has been on our radar since November and we are delighted to get his signature,” said Mr Chester. “I’d like to thank his agent, Liam Ayoub, for his assistance in this regard.
“Kai is a versatile forward with good all-round skills. He has good leg speed and is a tough defender. He’s heard a lot of good things about our club, and he wants to come over here and prove himself. He’s got a great opportunity to do that.
“I’ve spoken to several players in Australia who have played with Kai, including Josh Hodgson and Sammy Williams who I both used to coach, and they’ve given him strong references.
“We’ve got him at a good age and Adrian and me both felt he was a good fit for our squad, which needed thickening up.
“Once again, I’d like to thank Derek for his great support of the club as we look to achieve our ambition of getting back into Super League.”
Kai O’Donnell is available to sponsor. For more details, please contact Karen Roberts (Karen.Roberts@leighrl.co.uk).