Micky Higham has come out of retirement and re-signed for Championship strugglers Leigh Centurions.
Higham, who captained Leigh during their season in Super League in 2017, has signed a deal until the end of the current season to temporarily end his retirement and help his hometown club out.
The Centurions are currently without hookers Daniel Mortimer and Kurt Baptiste – but Higham has answered the club’s SOS and will be available to feature this Sunday against Featherstone.
“It all seems a little bit surreal,” he said. “When Kieron asked me to look at the possibility of coming back as a player I was really excited and I got butterflies in my stomach.
“I felt like I did when I first signed professional forms for Leigh as a teenager and I thought that if I still got that feeling then the desire was still there.
“I’ve made no secret that I never wanted to retire and two or three clubs had enquired about my services but I turned them down. I said to Derek and Kieron today that I wasn’t holding out for Leigh but something was burning inside me that told me an opportunity may come up.
“It’s not an easy time for the Club at the moment but people who know me know how much Leigh means to me. I care deeply about the place and the last time I played in a competitive match I was in floods of tears after relegation.
“We’ve had a poor start to the season and it’s not good enough for the standards we set and the crowds we get. Rugby League in Leigh means such a lot to a lot of people and hopefully by coming back I’ll be able to influence things on and off the field and demonstrate to the players here that they are at a great club.”
Leigh owner Derek Beaumont said: “Ironically when Micky was getting offers to carry on playing I advised him to sit tight as he had a long future at the Club which was worth more than a year playing and that if he was destined to play something would happen to bring that round.
“It’s a long season and injuries can happen and there’s always an element of the unknown. Micky is Leigh through and through and it gives us an identity on the pitch. His passion and determination, combined with his leadership skills, will have a big influence on the rest of the boys.
“It’s obviously written in his destiny that he doesn’t finish as part of a team that got relegated, it is to be seen if that is to be being part of a team that gets promoted and I know he will be hell bent on achieving that. His playing ability was never in doubt and he demonstrated that in his spells against Wigan.
“It’s well known he didn’t want to hang up his boots and I would like to thank Hannah (Forbes) of Leigh Community Trust for agreeing and assisting with Micky’s immediate return to the playing staff. I am looking forward to seeing him take back to the field in a Leigh jersey.”