On the cusp of a first-grade opportunity at the St George Illawarra Dragons just 18 months ago, injury struck at the wrong time for Drew Hutchinson.
Instead, he was forced to go through lengthy injury rehabilitation over the course of the 2017 season and with speculation surrounding the Dragons back-up halves, Hutchinson has made the move to the Leigh Centurions.
The Championship side continues to go from strength-to-strength, having already signed Bodene Thompson and Paterika Vaivai from both the New Zealand Warriors and the Gold Coast Titans respectively.
Head coach Neil Jukes praised the signing knowing that he comes highly rated as a half.
“Drew is an outstanding signing for Leigh Centurions,” said Jukes.
“He is a very highly rated and exceedingly talented halfback.
“Throughout his junior career Drew achieved everything he could do, with his club sides, playing for his state side and then being given the accolade of selection for the Junior Kangaroos.
As well as that, he showed outstanding leadership qualities for the teams he represented, which was recognised when he was handed the captaincy of the NSW Under-20s in 2015.”
Jukes went on to say that the club is pleased to have secured the services of such a talented halfback.
“Unfortunately, just as he was breaking into the first-grade side, he got an injury setback in 2017.
“From speaking to Drew, he is very ambitious to achieve many more things in his career.
The fact he has chosen Leigh Centurions, ahead of interest from many other clubs shows how far we have come as a club in the past few years.
“Drew will be an instrumental figure for Leigh Centurions in 2018 and beyond. He has all the qualities to forge a senior career as outstanding as his junior career.”
The new signing also pleased club owner Derek Beaumont.
“Drew is one I really wanted to land and I was as relieved as I was pleased and excited when Kez (Head Of Rugby Keiron Cunningham) forwarded me his contract,” said Beaumont.