Leeds Rhinos have signed Huddersfield Giants star Brett Ferres for an undisclosed fee.
The 29-year-old forward had only recently signed a long-term deal with Huddersfield Giants, however off-field issues, including allegations of an affair with the wife of a teammate, resulted in his suspension from the club and was then placed on the transfer list.
The Rhinos will be the fifth West Yorkshire club that Ferres has played for having started his career at Bradford Bulls in 2005, winning the World Club Challenge in 2006, before moving to Wakefield in 2007 as part of the deal that took David Solomona to the Bulls.
He has made over 250 appearances in Super League and was the man of the match when England defeated New Zealand in the opening test in November when he scored two tries after coming off the bench at Hull having scored a hat-trick in the 84-4 warm-up thrashing of France the week before.
Since the allegations first came to light, a number of clubs have been linked with the England star, with both Hull clubs heavily linked while NRL side Sydney Roosters were thought to be close to completing a loan deal at one stage.
A move to Leeds had been suggested before Ferres signed a new contract with the Giants midway through 2015, however any links to the Rhinos since his suspension had been quashed.
Commenting on the signing Leeds Rhinos Chief Executive Gary Hetherington said, “We are delighted to have secured a player of the quality of Brett Ferres to compliment our squad for next season. Brett knows a lot of our players from the England side and has known Carl Ablett since the pair were teenagers and toured Australia with the England Academy. They know Brett and they are looking forward to having him within our group.
“We are fully aware of the challenge in front of us next season, as we look to build on the achievements of last season and adding a player of international class like Brett, is a major boost to our plans. I would like to thank Richard Thewlis and the Huddersfield Giants for the way they have dealt with the process and I am sure we have come to an arrangement that allows all parties to move onto the next stage and look forward to 2016.”
Ferres is likely to be part of the Rhinos squad that travels to Jacksonville in North Florida in ten days ahead of the start of the new season for the Champions on Thursday 4th February at Headingley Carnegie and the visit of Warrington Wolves.
Leeds Rhinos head coach Brian McDermott said, “We are pleased to have Brett on board. Our other three England internationals also return this week so he has not missed any of our pre-season preparations in comparison to those players. He is a tough competitor and someone I have admired for many years and it is great that the club have moved quickly to secure his services. He will immediately begin training with us with just four weeks to go until the start of the season whilst the terms are being agreed.”
Ferres commented, “I would like to thank Gary Hetherington and Brian McDermott for making this move possible. The Rhinos are a fantastic organisation and I am looking forward to being part of the squad next season. The last year has seen plenty of ups and downs for me however this move gives me an opportunity to finally look forward to the future with confidence and be part of something special here at the Rhinos.”
Brett Ferres has been awarded the number 26 squad number.