Leigh Centurions have snapped up Ryan Brierley and the vastly experienced Simon Finnigan, along with Warrington’s young prop Ryan Duffy for 2013.
And that is just the type of news the club and the fans need ahead of their crucial clash against Swinton Lions at the Leigh Sports Village on Sunday (kick-off 2pm).
Sunday’s final league game of the Championship fixtures is an ‘away’ clash for the Centurions, but with second place up for grabs if they can pick up a victory, it is a vital game on which to end the club’s league campaign.
Yet as the focus is on Sunday’s game and a best possible finish ahead of the play-offs, Leigh are also starting to look ahead to the 2013 campaign, and the signing of Brierley, Finnigan plus youngster Duffy, is indicative of the club’s determination to realise its ambition of a return to Super League in 2014.
Brierley has been at Leigh on a season long loan from Castleford Tigers, but when it was made clear that he would not be required by the Super League club for next season, Leigh moved swiftly to secure the 20-year-old half back’s services. With 24 tries in 24 games in a season, his form has been all the more impressive since he has started just seven games this campaign.
Leigh coach Paul Rowley said: “Ryan is one of the final pieces in our 2013 jigsaw. I wanted to get to the close season with a balanced squad in place. Ryan is an extremely ambitious young man and his talent is there for all to see. Like the club, he has strong desires to play in Super League and his energy and commitment makes him a pleasure to work with.
“We will continue our recruitment drive over the coming weeks until we feel our squad is in a strong position to continue to royally entertain our loyal fans.”
Leigh’s signing of Ireland international Finnigan from Widnes Vikings and Duffy of Warrington Wolves on two-year contracts emphasises the growing attraction of a club that less than 12 months ago was on the brink of extinction.
Back-row Finnigan, 30, is an experienced forward who made 10 appearances in Super League for Widnes this season before his season was ended by a broken leg and ankle ligament injury.
Duffy had been a permanent fixture in the Wolves Under-20s, before a dual registration spell up at Barrow saw him impress during the Raiders’ Championship One run in.
“I’m delighted to sign Simon and Ryan,” added Rowley.
“At Leigh, we continuously try to keep the balance of youth and experience right. Simon has played many years in Super League, while Ryan is just 19, and came through the ranks at Warrington. He is ambitious and has chosen to join Leigh, as he is keen to push for Super League.”