Leigh Centurions are delighted to confirm the signing of Australia international winger Blake Ferguson on a contract until the end of the current season.

Ferguson, 32, is expected to join up with his new teammates at Leigh Sports Village early next week and was signed ahead of the deadline to be eligible for the AB Sundecks 1895 Cup.

Centurions Head Coach Adrian Lam has worked with Ferguson previously with the Australian national team and is looking forward to Ferguson’s arrival.

“Blake is considered one of the best outside back players in Australia in his prime and it’s massive news for our club,” he said. “It’s a big one.

“I’ve coached him at the Kangaroos and he’s not a player you won’t notice.

“He’s a great finisher and knows his way to the line. It’s our job now to give him the ball. He’s an explosive player that we need adding to our team and in every game, he gives 100 percent. He’s the ultimate competitor, absolutely hates losing and he leaves nothing in the tank.

“He’s scored tries at the top echelon of the game on a consistent basis over many years. He represented the Kangaroos as a winger, but he could play centre or fullback. It will take a bit of time for him to adjust to our team, but the players will love having him around and he will soon settle into our environment

“Blake is a vibrant, positive character and brings life and fun to the group and at the bottom of that he’s a good person. He will be a popular member of our squad.”

Leigh Centurions owner Derek Beaumont said: “This is a big signing for the club and arguably the highest profile and most decorated player I have been able to bring to the club. This has been worked on for months and I would like to thank Sam Ayoub, Blake’s manager for the hard work he has done in this and sticking by his word with me despite other contenders coming in for him.

“I would also like to thank Adrian for his work as it’s his position as head coach that was key in pulling this off. I would also like to thank (head of rugby) Chris Chester and (operations manager) Neil Jukes who were all heavily involved.

“I’d like to thank David and Stephen from Homes Together Ltd for their support in making this happen, for confidentially agreeing to a significant player sponsorship together with other sponsorship of the club, which is both recognised and appreciated.”

Mr Beaumont added: “Having achieved Super League with the club three times and been relegated on each occasion it’s imperative that when we do get promoted, whether it be this year or in future years, that we arrive in there with a team that is competing in the top eight of the table so we can then build this club to compete at the highest level.

“I have been very impressed with Adrian, Tony (Clubb) and the rest of the performance team and how well the lads have bought in and are growing as a team every week. It is, without doubt, the best group I have witnessed at the club and to get this over the line during our recruitment meeting for next year yesterday was great.

“I have said all along I will support heavily financially this year. There are no guarantees in sport, and I am committed that if we don’t achieve, we will still need the same team the year after. So, Chris has been given the green light yesterday, on my intentions and support irrespective of the outcome so we can move forward now and not when it’s too late to build.

“I set the lads the goal to reach May in a position that gave me confidence in them, and they have achieved that goal. I can’t wait to meet Blake and see him in a Leigh Centurions shirt. I know the boys will be keen to have him in the group.

“I hope this gives our fans some assurances and clear, defined statements of our intentions and they repay that with their support in numbers.

“There’s a long way to go and it won’t be easy but we won’t give in until we are a sustainable Super League club.”

Ferguson made his NRL debut for Cronulla Sharks in 2009 and has since represented Canberra Raiders, Sydney Roosters and Parramatta Eels. He has a potent strike rate in the NRL, with 126 tries in 249 games.

He has reached the finals series in seven separate seasons, once with Canberra, three times with the Roosters and another three times with the Eels. One career highlight was being a key member of the Roosters’ side that defeated Melbourne Storm 21-6 in the 2018 grand final at Stadium Australia.

In nine separate NRL seasons he scored at least ten tries, with a best return of 18 tries in 27 games for the Roosters in that memorable 2018 campaign. Ferguson’s performances won him the coveted accolade as Dally M Winger of the Year in the annual player awards for the NRL.

He last played in the NRL in the 2021 season, scoring ten tries in 18 games for the Eels, including try braces in victories over Cronulla Sharks, Wests Tigers, Melbourne Storm and Newcastle Knights. His final game for the Eels was in an 8-6 semi-final defeat at the hands of Penrith Panthers, who went on to defeat South Sydney Rabbitohs in the NRL grand final.

On the representative front he has scored a further 13 tries in 27 games, including six in seven Test matches for the Kangaroos. He made his debut for Australia against New Zealand in 2016 and has been on the winning side in all seven of his Test matches, scoring a try in all but one.

He has also played nine times for New South Wales in State of Origin, and represented the Indigenous All Stars, the Prime Minister’s XIII and Country New South Wales.

On signing for the club, Ferguson said: “I am very excited to be coming over, as I have heard a lot of good things about the club and the people of Leigh.

“It is no secret that this club has the aims to get back to Super League and I want to play my part in getting Leigh Centurions back there.

“I can’t wait to get over to the UK and get stuck in with the boys.”

Blake Ferguson is sponsored by Homes Together Ltd, who specialise in providing residential care for young adults with learning disabilities, autism and visual impairments.

They can be found at www.homestogether.net for more details.

David Ashton-Jones from Homes Together said: “Homes Together’s owner Steve Jones has roots in Leigh and grew up supporting the club as a child.

“Whilst the business is based in Harrogate, Leigh has a special place in our hearts and we are determined to help get this rugby club back into Super League in any way we can.

“Blake is an unbelievable talent and we are so excited to see what he can do once he arrives in the UK.”