Former Brisbane Bronco and North Queensland Cowboy John Asiata has signed with Betford Championship club Leigh Centurions.

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The club confirmed the news via a statement on their website.

Asiata became available after parting ways with the Bulldogs prior to the 2022 NRL season. This was believed to be over his refusal to get the COVID-19 vaccination. His contract, which was signed in September of 2021, was due to commence in the 2022 season. Instead, he left the club without playing a game.

The ex-NRL forward was a key member of the 2015 premiership-winning Cowboys team.

Throughout his time in the NRL, he played in 139 games and was the 2016 and 2020 North Queensland Cowboys Club Person of the Year.

He has also represented both Samoa and Tonga in international play.

After the signing, Asiata reached out to fans of the Centurions through the clubs Twitter page. He discussed how greatful he was for the opportunity, and that he is optimistic about the 2022 season.

The head of Rugby for Leigh Centurions Chris Chester, felt a similar optimism for the upcoming season. He understands the quality and class that their new recruit brings, and believes he will make a big impact on the upcoming season.

“It is not often that such a quality player becomes available on the market." Chester said in an interview.

“Adrian and I found out about John’s availability and acted quickly. There were lots of clubs in the Super League and Championship chasing his signature, so to persuade John that his future lay at Leigh Centurions was a real team effort."

“Derek [Beaumont] spoke to John at length about the vision of Leigh Centurions. We are really delighted that he has agreed to sign for us."

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Chester believes that Asista's fit both on and off the field makes him the perfect recruit for the Centurions, and could be the missing piece in a champtionship run.

“John is a really good fit for the club, one of the final pieces in the jigsaw. He is primarily a lock but can play half-back or on the edge. He’s got versatility and he’s a good ball player so he will be an excellent link between the forwards and both edges.

“John is a really humble and nice guy and he’s big into helping others and the community, so he will love being at our club and living locally.”

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 27: John Asiata of the Broncos takes on the defence during the round 12 NRL match between the Brisbane Broncos and the Melbourne Storm at Suncorp Stadium, on May 27, 2021, in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

The news was initially announced by Martyn Clarke, who is in the middle of an inspiring challenge. He is raising money for MND Association by attempting 7 half triathlons in 7 days. That equates to swimming nearly 2km, cycling 90km and running 21km every day.

During the fifth day of his challenge, he stopped in at the Leigh Sports Village. Club owner Derek Beaumont, former Great Britian star Steve Hampson and operations manager Neil Jukes accompanied him during his visit to the home of the Centurions.

The Centurion's new recruit has been vocal in his support, reaching out to Twitter to show his support for Clarke and raise awareness for the campaign.

Asiata has just over a month to prepare for the upcoming season. The Centurions begin their season on the 29th of January against Whitehaven, although it's unclear what, if any, special permission he will need to make the move to England given his stance on vaccinations.