Gleeson returns home to Wigan - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Gleeson returns home to Wigan

07/04/2009 12:34:01 PM Comments (0)

Wigan-born England centre Martin Gleeson has finally returned home, the 28-year-old completing a transfer to the Super League glamour club on Monday.

Gleeson, who as a 10-year-old emigrated with his family to Australia, signed from Wigan's Super League rivals Warrington for a fee in the region of STG100,000 ($A207,189) with fullback Richard Mathers heading the opposite way in a part exchange deal.

Wigan's new recruit now hopes to finish his career with the Lancashire club after signing a three-and-a-half-year deal which will take him up to until the end of the 2012 season.

"It would be a dream to finish my career here and win something before it's over," said Gleeson.

"This is like coming home. All my family are really buzzing. It's a bit surreal and I can't quite believe it yet.

"Growing up in Wigan, I used to go to Central Park. I didn't get the opportunity to sign for them when I came back from Australia but my opportunity is here now. I've got to pinch myself," added Gleeson, now to set to make his club debut against arch-rivals St Helens on Thursday.

Gleeson has been reunited with former Great Britain coach Brian Noble and the delighted Wigan boss said: "I'm absolutely thrilled to acquire the services of Martin Gleeson. This is a huge fillip for us.

"I think the Wigan fans will see the best from him over the next few years. He will bring another new dimension to our attacking options."

Gleeson, who made his Great Britain debut in 2002, had three seasons with Huddersfield before joining St Helens in 2001.

He made 57 appearances for Saints and won both Super League and Challenge Cup honours before moving to Warrington for a club record STG200,000 ($A414,378) transfer fee in 2004 following a betting scandal.

There had been reports that Gleeson was contemplating a move to an NRL side but no firm offers emerged.

Gleeson said he had given up on the prospect of playing in Australia, "Not any more, it's gone," he said.

But while Gleeson was keen to suggest an amicable exit from Warrington, who are coached by England boss Tony Smith, the Wolves were unhappy with the player's conduct.

"Martin Gleeson has been seeking a change of club for some time and talk of a club in the NRL has been previously rumoured," a Warrington statement said.

"Tony Smith has again re-confirmed that only players fully committed to Warrington Wolves are wanted at the club."

Wigan, English rugby league's dominant force in the 1980s, are currently ninth in the 14-team Super League, two points and a place above Warrington.

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