Harrison Hansen has agreed a new two-year contract with Leigh Centurions to the end of November 2019.
Hansen, 32, capped an outstanding personal campaign in 2017 by being voted both Leigh Centurions Players’ and Coaches’ Player of the Year and passed the notable milestone of 350 senior appearances during the season.
Leigh Centurions Owner Derek Beaumont, currently on Club business in Australia with head coach Neil Jukes, said: “Harrison’s future at the Club was never in doubt but sometimes the commercial world dictates the pace of contractual agreements and that was the case here. ‘H’ is a born competitor, a warrior and that is a trait any team would want to inject into their squad.
“It has been a difficult period for me with the squad situation and frustrating not to be able to squash speculation around Harrison’s and the Club’s intentions to each other. I hope this announcement will demonstrate to the fans that we can’t always say what we would like but we are acting in what we know are the best interests of the club and therefore in turn their best interests.
“During my time with Jukesy in Australia everyone, when asking about our roster, was aware of ‘H’ and had the upmost respect for him and that’s coming from many of the best players and coaches in the NRL.
“He was part of coming to this club, believing in my vision for it and played a massive part in achieving it. He knows what it takes and can’t wait to get stuck into doing that again. “
Leigh Centurions head coach Neil Jukes said: “I’m really pleased Harrison has decided to stay with us and join the fight to get us back in to Super League.
“His efforts last year on and off the field were outstanding, which culminated in him clean sweeping all the major awards at the end of it.
“He’s highly respected and a true warrior of the game. I’m delighted those traits will stay with our Club for at least two more years.”
Harrison Hansen said: “I’m very happy to be staying at the Club. There are a lot of new faces and it is a completely different team.
“We are starting from scratch and building a new culture. It’s a shame it wasn’t there in Super League.
“Everyone is starting with a clean slate. Pre season training has been a lot more organised and more intense. We had to step up as you can’t go through pre season going through the motions and then expect to perform.
“It reminds me of my Wigan days and pre season training under Michael Maguire. The boys are ripping in well and getting to know one another.
“Everyone is there for a purpose and we’re a team now.”
Hansen points to the appointments by owner Derek Beaumont of head of rugby Keiron Cunningham and head of performance Chris Baron as crucial in the Club’s long term plans.
“Derek’s brought the right people in staff-wise and it’s been good to see him and Jukesy going to Australia and gaining a lot of knowledge over there.
“Derek, Keiron and Jukesy are doing a great job and getting Chris Baron on board is massive. You look at his background and the clubs where he has worked, the likes of Warrington, Widnes and now with the England team.
“It’s going to be a good year but a tough year. We know how hard it is in the Championship and how hard we will have to work to achieve our ambitions of getting back into Super League.”
Hansen came up through the successful Wigan Warriors junior development programme and made his senior debut in 2004. He went on to play 242 games for the Warriors, winning the Grand Final in 2010, the Challenge Cup in 2011 and then achieving the notable Super League and Challenge Cup double in 2013.
After earning England international honours at youth level he represented New Zealand in 2006 and played for Samoa in the 2008 World Cup.
Hansen turned down the opportunity of a testimonial at Wigan to join Salford where he was one of their mainstays in a two-year period prior to joining Leigh Centurions for the 2016 season.
“I’m turned 32 now but age is just a number,” Hansen added. “I feel in great shape and as I’m getting older I’m wiser. I want to carry on playing at Leigh as long as possible and help Derek and everyone achieve their ambitions.”