CAMERON Pitman has signed a two-year full-time contract that ties him to Leigh Centurions until the end of the 2016 season.
The new deal comes into effect from December and will see Pitman, aged 24, become part of Paul Rowley’s full-time playing squad. It also puts paid to recent newspaper speculation linking him to a move to a Super League club.
Pitman, whose family hail from Dorset and who has a British passport, follows a long line of Australian players to settle in Leigh, beginning with Mick Bolewski more than a century ago.
After playing for Coogee Wombats in the South Sydney Junior RFL, Pitman compiled a video to send to interested parties in the UK.
“My dad’s good friend was the late John McVay, a former Leigh player of the 1960s,” Pitman explains. “I worked alongside John’s son Simon and he suggested we send something to Leigh.”
The video arrived on the desk of Allan Rowley, a former team-mate of McVay, and he involved Centurions Head of Rugby Derek Beaumont. Suitably impressed they alerted the Leigh coaching staff to Pitman’s potential.
Pitman paid his own way over and was soon playing and impressing in Leigh’s Under-20s side last season and made one first-team appearance. This year he has earned a regular place in the centre.
“Leigh’s a bit different to Sydney, especially weather-wise, but the people are great and they love their Rugby League,” Pitman says. “I knew I had to bide my time, wait, train hard and be patient and that my chances would come.”
Pitman comes from a sporting family. His elder sister Chelsea is a professional netball player who currently plays for West Coast Fever in Perth and has 15 Australian Test caps.
Leigh Centurions Head Coach Paul Rowley is delighted to have secured Pitman’s signature.
"Cameron is a very popular member of the Club and has a great attitude,” he says. “He’s a very good trainer and takes things on board.
“He is very eager to learn. What I admire most about him is his patience and determination. He was prepared to work away in the Reserves, train and play hard and when he’s got his opportunity he’s taken it with both hands.”
Centurions Head of Rugby Derek Beaumont said: “Cameron is a very dedicated player and his story is a bit of a fairy-tale. He was prepared to back himself, paying for his own flight to come over here and prove himself 12,000 miles from home.
“What has really impressed us all about Cameron is his patience. He has worked hard at training and in the Reserve team and waited for his opportunity.
"He is one of the best trainers at the Club and is very popular among other players and the staff. When Cameron got his chance he took it with both hands.
"He is a very tough defensive player and is greatly valued by his team-mates who recognise the qualities he brings to the team and the Club.”