Leigh were “very close” to signing Jarryd Hayne, says Jukes

Rumours were swirling around last week that Leigh Centurions were seriously keen on making a play for multi-code star Jarryd Hayne – and the club’s coach has admitted they were “very close” to landing the World Cup winner for the Qualifiers.

Leigh have built what appears to be a strong squad as they aim for promotion to Super League this season: and Hayne’s signing would have been arguably the biggest by any English club in years.

Leigh were keen on a deal for Hayne as part of their mid-season recruitment, and Jukes said at the Super 8s launch that it was a genuinely close call in terms of getting Hayne into a Centurions shirt, before the move just fell through at the last minute.

“We came close,” Jukes said. “Our owner (Derek Beaumont) spoke to him and did a lot of work with his agent.

“It was very close. The deadline for this year has gone and the big pull was obviously Reni, a good friend of his who retires this year.

“It just shows how far we’ve come as a club when we get linked with players like that.

“It would have been very similar I imagine to what Warrington did with Andrew Johns. He probably paid for himself with the bums on seats.”