Some Wests Tigers fans might be disappointed at the decision given his form for them in the NSW Cup, but the club made the decision to release half Josh Drinkwater to sign with Championship side, the Leigh Centurions.
The Tigers released a short statement on the release and it read as follows:
“Wests Tigers can confirm that Josh Drinkwater has been granted an immediate release from his contract with the Club.
Drinkwater, who was contracted with Wests Tigers for the remainder of this season, will take up an opportunity in England with Leigh Centurions in the Kingstone Press Championship.
The 23-year-old halfback played one NRL game for the Club in Round 17 last year against Parramatta at ANZ Stadium.”
The deal for Drinkwater at Leigh is until the end of the season, with this stint his second in England. Previously, he had a stint with the London Broncos.
With Leigh always aiming for Super League promotion, Drinkwater is excited by the prospect of the challenge ahead.
“I am very much looking forward to joining Leigh Centurions,” said Drinkwater.
“It is an ambitious Club and hopefully I can play a part in the Clubâ€™s endeavour to Super League promotion.”
With Leigh’s track record in signing fringe, quality players, they will be hoping Drinkwater can provide the same impact for them, with coach Neil Jukes excited about the signing.
“In the last couple of weeks the whole staff including Derek have monitored Josh closely and he ticks all the boxes,” Jukes said.
“He will add to our current halfback combinations which is already a talented section within our group.
I look forward to embracing him into our Club as we set about our only goal this year, a place in Super League.”
A part of the relegated London Broncos side, Jukes believes that Drinkwater is ready and here to play, to help Leigh gain promotion.
“Any player who gets in a 30 man NRL squad is a talented player and Josh probably feels he has unfinished business over here after his year with London ended in relegation,” Jukes added.
“Just as we have researched him thoroughly, I believe that likewise Josh and his agent have done their research on Leigh Centurions and the positive feedback he has received about the way we do things here has helped him in making this decision.
“It is our job to ensure that those on and off field standards are not only maintained but constantly improved as we seek to achieve our goals.”
Club owner Derek Beaumont is always on the lookout for talent to complement their already strong side and Drinkwater fit the bill.
“I have always stated I am committed to do what is necessary to give this club the best opportunity I can to get into Super League and this is a further signing to support that,” said Beaumont.
“Josh is young and energetic and has Super League experience. He has been killing it in the New South Wales Cup where he has been attracting a lot of attention from the NRL and Super League. Josh certainly has the credentials to significantly improve any side.”
Beaumont is also confident that Drinkwater will fit into the side and become a player to help them gain promotion.
“There will no doubt then be competition for him from Super League and the NRL and it is my job to compete in that market if we have gained promotion,” Beaumont added.
“I am confident that Josh will enjoy his time here and the family friendly atmosphere which should make that job a little easier.”