Leigh Centurions have swooped to sign Tom Spencer from London Broncos.
Spencer played a starring role in the Broncos’ Million Pound Game 4-2 victory over Toronto Wolfpack to seal the club’s return to Super League, but he has jumped at the chance to return to the Leigh Sports Village.
“The Toronto game was the most nerve-wracking I’ve ever played in and an incredible experience,” Spencer said.
“We went over to Toronto three times last season and all the build-up was about them and rightly so. We used the underdog tag as motivation and that’s something we can do at Leigh next year.
“It was a bitter-sweet experience leaving London. I had a great time down there and really developed as a player and a person. Andrew Henderson signed me and when he left to go to Warrington his assistant, Danny Ward took over and both were great coaches to play under.
“They both looked after me and worked on my game. Danny left no stone unturned in his preparation and it paid off. I thought I may have a place in their plans, but that’s the nature of the game with salary cap considerations and it was time for me and a few of the other lads to move on.
“But to get the chance to come back to Leigh is just fantastic and I can’t wait to get started. I wasn’t keen to leave in the first place, so to have the opportunity to be in at the start of something special under John Duffy is just the challenge I need.
“We know that the club needs to get back on the rails and Duffs is going about it the right way, concentrating on local lads with a core who’ve played for Leigh before. I played alongside him at the back end of his career and I’m really excited to play under him as a coach.
“John is building up a good squad with a great attitude and culture and though a lot of people may be writing us off that attitude and culture will see us go a long way.
“He knows his stuff and is a straight shooter. He’s definitely the right man for the job. I’m really chuffed to be back and to see what 2019 has in store for us.”
Spencer, 27, will play his 100th game for the Centurions when he makes his second debut. He initially signed on dual-registration terms from Wigan Warriors in 2012, while his 99th and final game was the promotion party game against Batley in 2016, when more than 10,000 fans flocked to celebrate at the LSV.
“To get my 100th game will be the icing on the cake and make it extra special,” Spencer said.
“After two years away I’m a lot more prepared for the job and have bridged that gap from being one of the younger players to one of the more senior players that lead by example. I’m a much more rounded person for my time in London and better for the experience. It felt weird playing twice against Leigh at LSV for the Broncos last season and to turn out again for Leigh Centurions will be fantastic.”
Centurions head coach John Duffy said: “I’m so chuffed to have secured the services of Tom. He has been outstanding for London over the last few seasons and especially in the Qualifiers. He really showed himself as he did when he came through the ranks at Wigan and then at Leigh where we shared some great times together.
“He is right up my street as a coach – no nonsense and very coachable. He has a point to prove here and I’m excited to see how he goes about his business in 2019 with the extra responsibility he has been handed.”
Leigh Centurions Chairman Mike Latham said: “Tom played a major role on and off the field during his previous time at the club and his re-signing will be highly popular with our fans.
“Tom was a perfect ambassador for the club through his role with Leigh Community Trust and a terrific player who played a significant role in the 2013 Northern Rail Cup success and the trio of League Leaders Shields leading up to getting the club back into Super League.
“He is a fantastic person and his love of the club remains as strong as ever. It will be a special day when he joins the hundred club at the start of what I’m sure will be a successful return for him to Leigh Centurions.”
More Leigh news will feature in Monday’s edition of League Express.