Leigh Centurions have announced the signing of Glenn Stewart for 2017 Super League season via their website
The 32-year-old has been a regular in the Catalans Dragons pack in 2016, scoring three tries in 29 appearances before agreeing a release one year into a three-year contract for family reasons.
Prior to moving to France, Stewart enjoyed a 13-year career in first grade in the NRL, playing 185 games for Manly Sea Eagles following his debut in 2003 and a further 18 for South Sydney in 2015.
With a wealth of representative experience, including five Australian caps and five appearances for New South Wales in State of Origin, he played in the 2008 World Cup Final and has played in four NRL grand finals.
Born in Wollongong, he played alongside his younger brother Brett, also an Australian international, throughout his time at Manly, winning Premierships in 2008 and 2011 with Grand Final victories over Melbourne and New Zealand Warriors respectively. In the latter Grand Final, he won the Clive Churchill Medal as the game’s outstanding player.
Leigh Centurions Owner Derek Beaumont said: “This is a massive signing for our Club and one for which I owe a lot to Travis Burns, who played a pivotal role in selling the Club to Glenn. In order to be a top Super League side we have to be able to attract the top players and this is evidence of not only our intent but our ability to do that.
“I have always said that our players are our best sales people and the way Travis has been treated and enjoyed his time at this Club is ultimately what has enabled what could be argued as the biggest signing this Club has ever made.
“Glenn has done everything there is to do in the game except of course win the Challenge Cup, something I am desperate to do. He comes here as a tough, proven competitor wanting to win something and he has seen in our team and our commitment to recruit and add more quality to it that it is possible to achieve something with Leigh.
“Glenn’s addition takes us to another level on and off the field and will make attracting other top players more possible. I can’t wait to meet him and his family to welcome him to our Famileigh.”
Leigh Centurions Head Coach Neil Jukes said: “Glenn’s CV speaks for itself. After speaking with him it was evident that he is deeply passionate about the game but also that he is driven with a desire to still achieve great things within the game. He sees that being no different at Leigh Centurions.
“He’s a durable player who has played halfback, middle and back row this season and has played long minutes. He is someone you would expect to drive our model to a whole new level.
“I know Glenn did a lot of research into our Club before he signed and he knows we are driving standards upwards on and off the field. He also knows what a passionate and caring Club we are and that a warm welcome will also be extended to his family.”
Glenn Stewart said: “I have loved my time in France. The Dragons have been really good to me and my family but my son, in particular, needed a bit of help with the language barrier and as regards his schooling he needs to be in a country where English is the primary language. Catalans were kind enough to grant me a release and one thing quickly led to another.
“Travis is one of my best mates and he had only good things to say about Derek and the Leigh Club. From speaking to Derek and then Jukesy it was clear that Leigh will be a great fit for me and my family.”
“We are excited about getting there, meeting everyone and settling in before pre season comes along.
“But I am not coming over for a holiday. I share a common goal with Derek, Jukesy and the team. It was an awesome achievement for Leigh to get into Super League and they are not going in there just to compete. I want to play my best footy, achieve things with the team and repay Derek for the faith he has shown in me. It’s a big one for me and I can’t wait to get started.”