Leigh Centurions have secured the permanent signing of Junior Sa’u from Salford Red Devils on a contract to the end of the 2020 season.
Junior Sa’u said: “I’ve had an awesome six years at Salford and thought I’d end my career there. I’d like to thank everyone at Salford from the bottom of my heart for the welcome they gave me and my family.
“My time there has been a special one and I’ll always have a place in my heart for the club and for the fans who backed me through the ups and downs.
“When the opportunity came to come to Leigh, I spent some time thinking about it and I decided it was time to go.
“It’s an exciting challenge, being part of a journey that will hopefully lead to Super League and it’s a fresh start for me.”
Leigh Centurions head coach John Duffy said: “Junior has a lot of quality and experience and is a proven Super League player. He’s come through some great systems in the NRL and has played a big part in Salford’s revival under Ian Watson.
“He’s got fond memories of his time at Salford and he’s a little bit nervous about coming to Leigh. But from talking to him I’m sure he’ll fit in nicely straight away. I’m excited about him coming on board. He’s a great signing and hopefully his arrival will help attract more fans to Leigh Sports Village.”
Sau, 32, was born in Auckland to Samoan parents and after spending time at Canberra Raiders made his NRL debut with Newcastle Knights in 2008. He played alongside Cory Paterson as he scored two tries in a victory over Canterbury.
After five years at Newcastle, he spent the 2013 campaign with Melbourne Storm before joining Salford in 2014. He made his New Zealand debut in 2009 and played in the Four Nations series in both 2009 and 2010 before representing Samoa in the 2013 World Cup, playing against the Kiwis at Warrington.
He has scored 94 tries in 246 career games, including eight tries in eleven international appearances. After scoring 27 tries in 90 NRL games he went onto score 59 tries in 142 appearances for Salford and also had a month’s loan spell at Wakefield Trinity earlier this season.
Sa’u added: “It’s a bit like starting at a new school. I’m excited but I’ve also got butterflies and I can’t wait to meet the coaching staff and the boys and earn their respect. I will rip in, week in and week out and challenge myself to achieve our goals.
“I played alongside Cory at Newcastle and Salford and it’ll be great to play with him again. The facilities at Leigh Sports Village are fantastic and I can’t wait to play for the club.”
Junior Sa’u will be sponsored by 24/7 Technology. Managing director Daniel Halliwell said: “Bringing in players of this calibre at the back end of the season to strengthen our back line shows the appetite the club and the board have to make the end of the season exciting for us fans.”