Leigh Centurions certainly appear to have laid down a marker ahead of the 2015 Championship season with the signing of former Parramatta prop Fuifui Moimoi. The signing of the former New Zealand and Tongan international has got Centurions fans excited, confirming the club’s ambition to gain promotion back to Super League in rugby league’s new era.
With the licencing system now a thing of the past, promotion and relegation are now firmly back on the agenda, and last year’s Championship grand final winners are among the favourites to clinch a Super League berth for the first time since 2005.
The signing of 35 year-old Moimoi comes on the back of one of the Centurion’s best season’s in recent history, defeating Featherstone in the Championship grand final and losing just twice all year, with one of those losses coming against Leeds Rhinos in the Challenge Cup quarter-final.
Moimoi will initially join on a one year deal, with the option of a second year. Leigh head coach Paul Rowley said, “The signing is a strong indication of Leigh’s ability to attract world-class talent.”
In 2013, the player trained and played at Leigh Sports Village with Tonga at the World Cup, and he said that his experience there helped him with his decision to join the Lancashire club:
“I met a few people at Leigh and obviously I met the owner who is a really nice guy. The people there are really good and friendly and I can’t wait to meet them and be a part of Leigh Rugby League Club. It’s an honour for me to play my footy there next year.”
Nicknamed ‘Car Crash,’ Moimoi was told in August that he wouldn’t be offered a new contract with the Eels – who he had played for for 11 years – and interest in him was thought to be high from a number of Super League clubs, with Salford and Warrington touted as possible destinations for the veteran in 2015.
Since 2004 Moimoi made 201 appearances for Parramatta scoring 22 tries, but managed just 12 appearances in the NRL in 2014. Still, the capture of the experienced prop is being heralded as Leigh’s best signing of all time.