New Leigh Centurions signing Dayne Weston has admitted that he is fulfilling a long-term ambition by playing in England.
The dominant forward, who joins the Centurions from NRL powerhouses Melbourne Storm, put pen to paper with the Championship side ahead of 2016.
His arrival is another piece of astute business by Paul Rowley ahead of the upcoming season, with Weston joining the likes of Rangi Chase and Harrison Hansen at the ambitious Championship club next year.
Weston, who has also had spells at Cronulla Sharks, North Queensland and Penrith Panthers, revealed that he always had aspirations of playing in England and had no hesitation in joining Leigh.
“I decided that if the opportunity came to go to England then I would jump at it,” Weston told TotalRL.com.
“It’s too good an opportunity to turn down. I wanted to come to England, after that I had to decide which club would be the best for my family going forward, and Leigh were the fit.
“I’ve been very overwhelmed by the support. I’ve been at a lot of big NRL clubs and I have never received the support that I have at Leigh. The fact that Leigh showed so much care in making sure my family felt good too when they came over was a big factor for me. They didn’t have to be like that, but it doesn’t cost to be a nice person.
“Whether I’ve made the right or wrong decision is something we’ll soon find out. But as of speaking I think it’s the best decision I’ve made in a very long time.”
— Dayne Weston (@dayneweston) November 7, 2015
Weston and his family have been getting accustomed to life in England.
Opportunities to remain in the NRL were made available to Weston, but he admitted that the prospect of joining a fifth Australian club was unappealing, whilst the lure of offering his family a new experience outweighed a longer stay in his home country.
“Obviously I’ve taken a big pay cut to come over here,” he said.
“But it wasn’t about that. I only wanted to go to another NRL club if it was right, but it wasn’t. I wasn’t passionate about packing up and starting again.
“I want to be here a long time, it’s not a two year holiday. I want to spend the rest of my career here. I believe I’ve got plenty to offer and can have a long career here.
“A lot of people think we come to England to relax and enjoy the end of our careers, but I’m not doing that. I want to play my best football and I do feel my best performances will be in a Leigh shirt, and I can tell you that this pre-season is hard.
“It is a goal of mine to play Super League and it also is a passion for Leigh. But if you make that your whole entire goal you’re playing for the wrong reasons. I fully believe it’s a process that may take a while, but I like the challenge of trying to help the club progress to a point that it is in Super League.”
To achieve that goal, the Centurions must produce the goods more often in the Super 8s. A dismal end to the campaign saw Leigh finish bottom of the Qualifiers after losing just one game in the regular Championship season.
There has been an in-depth investigation over Leigh’s shortcomings, both internally and externally, since the end of the year. However, the arrivals of experienced figures such as Weston, Hansen and Cory Paterson are seen as key acquisitions ahead of 2016.
Having been a part of one of the world’s most successful clubs through the last decade, Weston is hoping that he can provide guidance for the promising talents in Leigh’s ranks and help maintain professionalism within the team.
“It’s a squad with a lot of talent and smart coaches,” he said.
“It’s not going to happen overnight but we’ll get there. It’s a good club that is on the up.
“I want to take more a leadership role here at Leigh and be a consistent performer for the team.
“I wouldn’t want to compare the Storm and Leigh, but I think there’s a case there of learning what the Storm do well and taking some of that to Leigh with me.
“I’m itching to get the ball in hand and pull on the Leigh jersey. It’s not far away now and that’s exciting for me.”