Clare will be a big hit

James Clare
James Clare

James Clare has become the latest player to join Leigh Centurions ahead of the 2017 Betfred Super League campaign.

The former Castleford winger is one of several to find themselves a new club following the liquidation of Bradford Bulls last week.

He joins Leigh on a two-year contract up until the end of November 2018 and he flew to Lanzarote to meet his new team-mates at their pre-season warm weather training camp. Clare was one of the stand-out performers for the Bulls last season and also attracted interest from his former club Castleford before agreeing to join the ex-Tigers players already at Leigh – Ben Crooks and Ryan Hampshire.

Centurions coach Neil Jukes said: “James is someone we’ve admired and monitored for some while, especially after his performance in our epic draw at Bradford last year.

“He’s a guy with genuine pace and I know from speaking to many people that he will add to the culture we are looking to enhance again this year.

“James is looking to ply his trade back in Super League. He buys into our vision and we were happy to give him that opportunity.

“We’re confident that on the back of hard work and the support from the staff he will add genuine value to our squad for at least the next two years.”

Clare, 25, came up through the ranks of his hometown club Castleford after graduating from Lock Lane and in 2010 was the Tigers’ Under 20s Player of the Year.

He made his Super League debut for the Tigers against Huddersfield Giants in March 2012 and went on to score 24 tries in 38 games for the club before a mid season move to Bradford in 2015.

He scored 21 tries in 30 games for the Bulls, including three tries against Leigh during the 2016 campaign, two of them in the space of three minutes in the 32-32 draw at Odsal last February.

With dual registration experience at Doncaster and York City Knights his career tally of 55 tries has come in only 79 senior games.

Leigh owner Derek Beaumont said: “James was a player we had identified to bring to the club during last season whilst we were in the Championship, but we were a little late as he had agreed terms with Bradford.

“We know only too well what he is capable of, having been on the receiving end of it during Bradford’s great comeback against us last year.

“It is a real shame what has happened at Bradford and I genuinely wish them well as they are a massive club and important to the game. Hopefully they will restore themselves to the same heights but in the end I must concentrate on Leigh Centurions and what is important to us and in doing so seize every opportunity available to us.

“James is another young, up and coming talent who already has a Super League pedigree and is someone I am confident my coaches can really get the best out of.”