Centurions secure Smith coup

Leigh Centurions have completed the signing of former England international Lee Smith on a two-year deal.

Smith has spent the off-season on trial at Hull FC, however it is understood that the Airlie Birds could not secure a deal with Smith due to salary cap restrictions.

And the Centurions have made the most of Smith’s availability by snapping him up for the new season, making him the thirteenth international on the books at Leigh for 2016.

The arrival of the 29-year-old represents a huge coup for the Centurions, who have been at the heart of some of the most eye-catching signings of the summer. Rangi Chase, Cory Paterson, Harrison Hansen and Reni Maitua have all arrived from Salford Red Devils while Dwayne Weston joined the club from Melbourne Storm.

Willie Tonga was the most recent arrival, with the former Australian international joining from Catalans Dragons.

Leigh Centurions head coach Neil Jukes said: “We met with Lee yesterday and obviously his CV speaks for itself. He’s played in Grand Finals and played for his country. What I needed to be sure of was that Lee still had the enthusiasm and desire to continue to achieve things in his career.”

“Lee was blown away by the facilities at LSV and the quality of players we have in the squad. He has the hunger and desire to do well for Leigh Centurions and with his ability he will strengthen the squad across a number of positions.”

“He will apply pressure from within for competition for places- and that is good pressure because it will increase standards and ensure everyone stays focused on achieving our goals for the season ahead.”

“Lee is my first signing since becoming head coach and I’m sure I’ll look back in years to come that he proved to be an excellent acquisition for the Leigh Centurions club.”

Smith is in contention to make his Leigh debut against Batley this weekend.