Leigh Centurions are delighted to confirm that England Knights hooker Aaron Smith has joined the club on a season long loan from Betfred Super League three-times champions St Helens.
Smith, 25, already has a Centurions Heritage Number (HN#1477) after making five appearances on dual registration in 2019, and he told LCTV that he was relishing his return to Leigh Sports Village.
“I’ve had a small glimpse of what playing for Leigh is like before, and I’m really looking forward to pulling on the shirt and showing the fans what I can do,” he said. “I want to have a good year and help the club achieve its aim of winning the competition.”
Smith, who played in Saints’ 2019 Grand Final victory over Salford Red Devils, recently scored two tries and played a starring role in the Knights’ recent 54-6 win over Jamaica at Castleford to put himself in contention for a place in the 2022 World Cup squad.
Paying tribute to Saints legend James Roby, who he has understudied for several years, Smith said: “I’ve always looked up to James as a role model. He’s an unbelievable player and a really nice guy. He’s always there to encourage you and help you with your game. Unfortunately for me he plays big minutes and it’s always a struggle to get in ahead of him.
“Being part of that St Helens team has been an unbelievable experience. To get three titles in a row is credit to all the lads and the coaching staff for their dedication, hard work and all the sacrifices they have made on the back of Covid.”
Smith, who graduated through the academy ranks at Saints, actually made his Super League debut for Hull Kingston Rovers during a loan spell in the 2018 season. He made his Saints’ debut later that year against Catalan Dragons.
Leigh Centurions Head of Rugby Chris Chester said: “Aaron has been a great player for Saints but with his game time limited will now have the opportunity to play regularly for the next 12 months.
“He’s been a great understudy to James Roby and has got a really good work ethic and skill base. Everyone I’ve spoken to gives him good wraps and says what a good kid he is.
“He played exceptionally in the England Knights game and he’s an important signing for us. We are getting the spine of the team together now and with Aaron playing in such a pivotal position I jumped at the chance to sign him.
“I’d like to thank the Saints CEO Mike Rush and head coach Kristian Woolf for their help in this loan deal, which will be of mutual benefit, and which confirms the excellent relationship between the two clubs.”
Aaron Smith is to be kindly sponsored by ASK Platt Office Supplies, Leigh (http://www.askplatt.co.uk) for the 2022 season.
For more details of player sponsorship, please contact Karen Roberts: Karen.Roberts@leighrl.co.uk
A VIDEO INTERVIEW WITH AARON SMITH WILL BE POSTED ONLINE AT 6PM
This week has been a great one for the A-Team Hub after coming out on top of a community poll for the award of a defibrillator.
Centre Manager Heather Parker-Preece explained the background to the award and how it could prove a vital life-saving asset for the local community.
“Thanks to everyone who voted for the Hub in the Bumblebee Plumbing and Heating BEEaHero campaign,” Heather said.
“We topped the voting polls and received a Defibrillator from Bumblebee Plumbing and Heating.
“Bumblebee Plumbing and Heating is based in Warrington and runs the very successful BEEaHero campaign. From every boiler they sell, they donate £50 from the sale and put it directly into the BEEaHero fund.
“Once they have gained enough funds for a defibrillator, they hold a community vote and on this occasion the A-Team Hub was fortunate enough to win.”
Ross Coen from Bumblebee Plumbing handed over the defibrillator to Leigh Community Trust (LCT) at the A-Team Hub in Leigh.
Representing LCT were Heather Parker-Preece, Lead SEN Officer Carlie Unsworth and Leigh Centurions Player Welfare Manager Ste Maden. This was a particularly poignant moment for Ste who underwent open heart surgery in 2018.
Defibrillators can be the difference between life and death, if used within 3-5 minutes of collapse can produce a survival rate as high as 50-70%.
The A-Team Hub is a centre based in Leigh, Wigan Borough for children and families living with neurodevelopmental conditions and learning disabilities. The Hub provides activities for children aged 0-16 including activity play sessions, sensory messy play, games club, sibling club and also provides parent training and support for families across the North West.
After opening the new centre in June 2021, staff felt with the number of individuals and families using the centre and being in close proximity to both residents and other local companies, having a defibrillator at the A-Team would be a useful resource for the community.
Heather Parker-Preece added: “This is such a great initiative run by Bumblebee to provide communities with this life saving equipment. We are truly grateful to everyone who voted for us to win the defib and be able to offer the use of it to anyone in need of it.”
Leigh Centurions are delighted to announce the signing of Ireland international utility back Ed Chamberlain, who becomes the latest squad addition ahead of the 2022 Betfred Championship campaign.
Warrington born Chamberlain, 25, can play either full back, wing or centre and is also a useful goalkicker. Formerly with Widnes Vikings and Salford Red Devils, he has spent much of the past two seasons on loan at London Broncos.
After being shown around Leigh Sports Village and meeting with the club’s head of rugby Chris Chester, Chamberlain said, “I am delighted to be joining Leigh Centurions at this time and hopefully I can help them towards their goal of regaining their Super League status.
“I have played here and know the atmosphere is great and can’t wait to get involved with my new team-mates.”
Chamberlain gained extensive Championship and League One experience while coming through the ranks at Widnes, making a total of 30 appearances over two seasons at Whitehaven, then playing for both Workington Town and Bradford Bulls in 2017.
He made his Super League debut for the Vikings in the home game against St Helens in March 2016 and joined Salford in 2018, signing a permanent deal after impressing during a loan spell. He has scored 24 tries and kicked 116 goals in 95 career games.
He qualified for Ireland through his grandparents and played in the 2017 World Cup against Italy, Papua New Guinea and Wales.
Leigh Centurions Head of Rugby Chris Chester said: “Ed is a great utility back, a strong player and is also a competent goal kicker. He makes good yardage and is a good defender who will, I am sure, fit in perfectly with our plans.”
Ed Chamberlain is available for sponsorship. For more details, please contact Karen Roberts: Karen.Roberts@leighrl.co.uk
One of Leigh Centurions’ most loyal and enthusiastic sponsors will again feature on the team’s playing kits in 2022.
Bolton-based Impact Insurance (www.impactinsurance.co.uk) have been staunch supporters of the Club in recent years and we are absolutely delighted to have them with us again for the forthcoming season.
Moira Griffiths, Director of Impact said: “After a lot of thought and consideration, Impact have decided to continue our sponsorship of Leigh Centurions for the fourth consecutive year.
“I visited the office of Leigh Centurions and had a meeting with Jane Smith and met General Manager Karen Roberts and Head of Rugby Chris Chester who are all very keen to move forward with the club, both on and off the field.
“Leigh Centurions have the best fans in Rugby League, and together with the players, sponsors, and backroom team, we can fight for our place back in Super League. As they say in rugby, ‘We go again.’”
Impact Insurance are leading, independently owned insurance brokers with more than 20 years’ experience. Impact is owned entirely by the Griffiths family, and they pride themselves on finding the right insurance package at the right price for personal and business customers.
Leigh Centurions General Manager Karen Roberts said: “Moira, her family and their support has been greatly received by the operational board for a number of years and the Club is extremely fortunate to have such a well-established local company as a sponsor.
“I would personally like to thank Impact Insurance for their continual support especially through the last two years through the extremely difficult journey that Covid has presented to us.
“I would really like to see a return on investment for all our sponsors, and as we all need insurance, this is one partner where we can all reciprocate that support.
“I really look forward to working with Impact Insurance throughout the 2022 Season.”