One of the longest running transfer sagas finally came to a close this week as Rangi Chase completed his move to Leigh Centurions.
The former England international halfback and 2011 Man of Steel winner ended intense speculation by agreeing a two-year deal with the Centurions, who now enter the Championship season as overwhelming favourites.
It sparks a new chapter in Chase’s career after a frustrating spell at Salford, and Rowley is keen to help his new addition learn to love Rugby League once again.
“He (Rangi) speaks to me all about enjoying himself, and he’ll do that at our place,” said Rowley.
“We’ll make sure he has a good time. He has an obvious talent and hunger for the game and I’m sure he’ll fit in. He’s right for our club.
“We’ve got a good track record of bringing the best out of players. We’re in a happy camp and we have a genuine care and consideration for the players. Everyone at our club has always had honesty from me and my coaching staff and Rangi will get the same treatment. If he’s honest with us back it’s going to good.
Welcome to Leigh Rangi Chase pic.twitter.com/Cdo2FBaPQX
— Leigh Centurions (@LeighCenturions) November 25, 2015
“Obviously I’m delighted, why wouldn’t I be? I’ve got a recent international and Man of Steel joining my club. We’re a club that entertains and we’ve brought in another entertainer. I like to have fun and do things that look pretty so he’s another good ingredient.”
Chase follows former Salford team mates Cory Paterson, Harrison Hansen and Reni Maitua in joining Leigh, and Rowley believes their arrivals should not only be regarded as a coup for the Centurions, but also the Championship itself.
“There’s very few passengers in the Championship any more. Those days are gone,” he said.
“I think all of our signings have been good for the Championship, not just Leigh.
“If that puts more pressure on us and makes people enjoy any failings that we do have it doesn’t matter.
“Championship is littered with Super League quality players and our signings enhance what the competition is all about and adds awareness. It’s good for the game and is making the Championship a more professional playing standard year on year.
“There’s five or six clubs that all want to claim a Super League tag.”
With major Super League stars and NRL recruits on their way to LSV, the hype that has surrounded Leigh over the last couple of years is unlikely to distinguish anytime soon.
Their success has inevitably led to opposition supporters taking great satisfaction in the Centurions’ shortcomings, and Rowley knows all to well that it is another factor they will have to contend with this year.
“That’s the British way, isn’t it?
“Everyone used to want Wigan to lose. It’s no different.
“Our job is to keep our heads down. We want to change that perception. We want to be good, humble people and be polite. Off the field we are working hard to give a good perception of what we’re about, but the pressures that come with it are part of sport.
“We’ve no divine right to win anything, but like everybody else, we’ll strive to win everything.”