Higham unveiled as new Centurions skipper

Micky Higham
Micky Higham

LEIGH Centurions have announced that former Wigan and Warrington hooker Micky Higham will be club captain for the 2016 season.

Head Coach Paul Rowley made the announcement to the playing squad and support staff during a break in pre-season training in Lanzarote.

New signings Cory Paterson and Harrison Hansen will be of the official vice-captains.

The trio have a wealth of experience at the highest levels of the game and between them have amassed a total of 901 senior appearances.

As a home-grown Leigh player Micky Higham said he was delighted to follow in the distinguished footsteps of outgoing club captain Oliver Wilkes who led the team to back-to-back Kingstone Press Championship League Leaders Shields as well as grand final success in 2014.

Mr Rowley said: “I was delighted to inform Micky he was my chosen captain for 2016 and what was equally pleasing was his emotional and positive response to the appointment. ‎

“Equally, informing Cory and Harrison of their appointments was also pleasing as they were also delighted with receiving the responsibility of assisting Micky.

“I have taken my time on making the decisions as there are a lot of natural and proven leaders in the squad and I wanted to see how things developed amongst relationships with various players.

“I have always maintained that the role of the captain is vital in terms of communicating with me and the rest of the squad in a positive manner. On the field the players are leaders in their own rights and Micky, Cory and Harrison can harness that and ensure a great level of clear communication between the staff and the players which is key to any successful organisation.”

Higham, 35, rejoined the Centurions from Warrington Wolves in a £50,000 transfer midway through last season to resume a Leigh career that began in 1999. The transfer fee was a record club fee for the summer era.

He made his Centurions second debut in the Summer Bash game against Featherstone Rovers at Bloomfield Road, nearly 15 years after his last Leigh appearance.

After signing for his home-town club as a teenager from Leigh East, Micky made his first-team debut against Barrow on February 14 1999. He really came to the fore in the following season, scoring 22 tries in 32 Leigh games.

His sparkling individual performance, capped by two tries, earned the Man of the Match Award as Paul Terzis’s side suffered a heartbreaking 13-12 defeat at the hands of Dewsbury Rams in the 2000 Northern Ford Premiership Grand Final.

After that pivotal game Micky then embarked on a fine career at the top level playing with distinction for St Helens between 2001 and 2005, Wigan Warriors between 2006 and 2008 and Warrington Wolves from 2009.

Micky also joined the select group of Leigh born players to represent Great Britain when he made his debut against New Zealand at Hull in the 2004 Tri-Nations.

Harrison Hansen, 30, joined the Centurions from Salford Red Devils having enjoyed an equally stellar career. A vastly experienced forward who has achieved some of the game’s highest honours, Harrison was born in Auckland, NZ but schooled in England where his father Shane was a professional for both Salford and Swinton.

Harrison played for the famous Folly Lane ARL club at junior level and came through the successful Wigan Warriors junior development scheme, making his first-team debut for the club in 2004. He went on to make 238 appearances for the Warriors and turned down the opportunity of a testimonial at Wigan to join Salford.

After earning England international honours at youth level, he represented New Zealand in 2006 and then played for Samoa in the 2008 World Cup.

Cory Paterson, 28, also joined the Centurions from Salford Red Devils and is another vastly experienced player in both Super League and the NRL.

A former Australian Schoolboy International he played for Newcastle Knights, North Queensland Cowboys and Wests Tigers in the NRL and after a season with Hull KR in 2013, he came back to England to play for Salford Red Devils in the 2015 Super League campaign.