Leigh Centurions have announced the signing of Australian Jy Hitchcox as the club’s preparations for the 2022 Betfred Championship season continue.
Hitchcox played a big part in Toulouse Olympique’s successful season, capped by playing on the wing in their 34-12 Grand Final victory over Featherstone Rovers, which earned the club a place in Super League for 2022.
After spending two years in France, Hitchcox explained he was on the look-out for a return to England and found Leigh Centurions the perfect fit. And he told LCTV that speaking with Toulouse team-mate Harrison Hansen, a former Centurions captain, helped him make his decision.
Hitchcox said: “I spoke with ‘H’ and he told me it’s a great place and I’m looking forward to it. Once I’d spoken to Chris Chester the ball got rolling pretty fast and Leigh came up trumps.
“I’ve joined a club where I don’t have to ask what the aspirations are and what the vision is. I already know. To achieve that win with Toulouse meant everything and now I feel I can do that again.
“I’ve been on the back end of a really passionate Leigh supporters group so I’m looking forward to being on the right side for once.”
Born on the Gold Coast, Hitchcox played for the Australian Schoolboys Under-18s and was recruited by the Gold Coast Titans. He also spent time with Melbourne Storm and had a brief spell in rugby union before Wests Tigers offered him a breakthrough opportunity in the NRL during the 2014 season.
Electing to then advance his career in the UK, Hitchcox impressed playing for Featherstone Rovers in 2015, earning a Super League contract with Castleford Tigers the following year. He played in the Tigers’ Grand Final defeat at the hands of Leeds Rhinos in 2017 and scored 21 tries in 26 Super League games for the club.
He later made the permanent move to Bradford Bulls following a loan spell before moving to France, where he continued his impressive try-scoring to games ratio.
“Having played in a losing Grand Final it was a gutting feeling and I never want to feel that way again,” he said.
“Winning a Grand Final feels a whole lot better. The experience of the people around us helped calm the nerves and gave the whole team confidence.”
Leigh Centurions Head of Rugby Chris Chester said: “Jy has enjoyed an exceptional season with Toulouse and was one of their stand-out players. His yard carries and try-scoring ratio speak for themselves.
“In terms of culture, and the players we are bringing in, we have plenty of experienced players alongside some younger players who will really benefit. Jy had lots of options and probably felt disappointed not to play in Super League with Toulouse. But their loss is our gain.”