Former Parramatta Eels' winger Blake Ferguson will resume his professional rugby league career, signing a deal with the Leigh Centurions in the English Championship for the remainder of 2022.
The club, who were demoted from the Super League at the end of the 2021 season, are hunting for promotion at the end of the season and have started the season with ten wins from their first 12 games, including a 64-0 trouncing of the London Broncos last weekend, and a 34-6 hammering of the Sheffield Eagles on Friday night (British time).
They are likely to battle the Featherstone Rovers as the other team most likely to receive promotion to the Super League at the end of the year, with the experience of Ferguson to give the club a significant edge.
According to an official club statement, Ferguson will link up with his new teammates next week.
Ferguson had been signed to Japanese rugby after leaving the Parramatta Eels in the NRL at the end of last year, however, was sacked before he could feature in a single game after a drug-related arrest.
A former New South Wales and Australian representative, Ferguson played 249 NRL games across his time with the Cronulla Sharks, Canberra Raiders, Sydney Roosters and Eels.
Head coach Adrian Lam labelled the signing a "big one."
“Blake is considered one of the best outside back players in Australia in his prime and it’s massive news for our club,” Lam said.
"It's a big one."
“I’ve coached him at the Kangaroos and he’s not a player you won’t notice.
“He’s a great finisher and knows his way to the line. It’s our job now to give him the ball. He’s an explosive player that we need adding to our team and in every game, he gives 100 percent. He’s the ultimate competitor, absolutely hates losing and he leaves nothing in the tank.
“He’s scored tries at the top echelon of the game on a consistent basis over many years. He represented the Kangaroos as a winger, but he could play centre or fullback. It will take a bit of time for him to adjust to our team, but the players will love having him around and he will soon settle into our environment
“Blake is a vibrant, positive character and brings life and fun to the group and at the bottom of that he’s a good person. He will be a popular member of our squad.”
Ferguson, who has been playing country rugby league for the Thirlmere Roosters since his return to Australia, said he was excited to be heading to England.
“I am very excited to be coming over, as I have heard a lot of good things about the club and the people of Leigh," Ferguson said.
“It is no secret that this club has the aims to get back to Super League and I want to play my part in getting Leigh Centurions back there.
“I can’t wait to get over to the UK and get stuck in with the boys.”