Leigh take the Michael

LEIGH swooped to sign former Bradford and Harlequins back-row forward Michael Worrincy and he looks set to make his debut in the Centurions second pre-season warm-up game against Halifax this Sunday.

The Centurions could also have another young player in their ranks as they seem set to close in on an Australian centre who is now playing in France and is the son of a Leigh-born father. Jimmy Grehan is currently playing with Pia in France. If he signs he too could be on debut on Sunday.

Following the club’s 36-12 impressive demolition of Salford City Reds 10 days ago, Leigh are raring to go for their second test that will take place just five days before they take on the Challenge Cup holders and age old rivals Wigan Warriors at the LSV next Friday.

But although these are yet two more testing fixtures for the small Leigh squad, it will be preparing them nicely for the kick off to the Northern Rail Cup and then the Co-operative Championship.

The signing of 25-year-old Worrincy is a boost to the club, that somewhat tempers the departure of Chris Gerrard. Worrincy has enjoyed a spell in Australia that saw him train with Penrith Panthers and play in the New South Wales Cup for feeder club Windsor Wolves.

London-born, and playing for Greenwich Admirals Michael signed for Harlequins and his form was such that he forced his way into the BARLA Great Britain Under 18s side to take on France and then toured Australia with the youngsters in 2004.

He has enjoyed a spell at Hull on loan before returning to impress with Harlequins and then signed for Bradford Bulls playing more than 50 games before deciding to chance his arm in Australia.

“He’s a brilliant capture,” said Leigh’s acting coach, Paul Rowley. “He’s a quality and exciting player.

“Michael’s agent contacted us two or three weeks ago – he mentioned that Michael had come back from Penrith. Straightaway we thought that he’s a good player that could fit in and run a good line for us.

“He’s strong and definitely could be a fantastic player to bolster our squad. We discussed it carefully within the club and now he’s signed.”

But as Worrincy comes in, former Widnes and Wigan winger Gerrard departs after the club agreed to release him from the contract he signed in November. Chris has had a change in personal circumstances that means he is now unable to fulfil the terms of his contract.

“We’d like to thank Chris for his efforts and also his candour in the matter. Everyone at Leigh wishes him well for the future,” said acting chief executive Trevor Barton MBE.

Leigh’s game against Halifax kicks off at 3pm on Sunday and even though they were beaten by Salford at the weekend, Rowley knows it will be a stiff test.

“They played superbly well against Salford and were leading 16-6 before they started changing their team around,” added Rowley. “I have spoken with their coach Karl Harrison, and he is bringing his starting 17 and will use 10 interchanges. He wants to play Sunday’s game as if it was a Championship clash, so we know it will be a really stiff test for us.

“We are still a bit thin on the ground, but hopefully Stuart Littler will be fit to play, Worrincy will play and we may have a new signing, but I will only say something about that when it is a done deal.”

Leigh Centurions fans have been rushing to get their new away shirt which went on sale this week.

Manufactured by Leigh’s teamwear partner O’Neills the adult replicas cost £45 with mini kits and junior sizes starting at £29.99.

There is a wide range of Centurions gear in stock at the club’s town centre outlet Jitterbugz at 12 Railway Road, Leigh.

New design polo shirts are due in store very soon and some exciting new products are on their way in the coming months. Telephone 01942 603004 for more information.