LEIGH Centurions have signed Australian utility back Brendan Elliot for the Betfred Super League 2021 campaign.

The 27-year-old, released by Manly Sea Eagles at the end of last year, has played NRL for the past seven seasons, with Sydney Roosters, Newcastle Knights and Gold Coast his previous clubs.

Speaking from Sydney ahead of his move to the UK, Elliot said: “I’m really excited about the journey ahead. I nearly came over to Leigh in 2018 but it didn’t work out and so it will be great to finally make the move.

“Back in 2018 I spoke to Peter Matautia about Leigh and he said it was a really good club and the fans were passionate about rugby league.

“I’ve played at four NRL clubs alongside some of the big names of the game and hopefully I can bring experience and knowledge to the team.

Watch Elliot score a hat-trick for Manly's New South Wales Cup team in 2020:

“I’ve loved my time at Manly and got a lot of game time in the past two seasons. It’s been great playing under (coach) Des Hasler and alongside great players like Tom Trbojevic but now it’s time for a new chapter.

“It’s a massive opportunity for me to come to play in England and everyone I’ve spoken to from the club so far have been extremely welcoming and passionate about the game. I’m looking forward to getting in and around the club and doing my best for the team.”

Leigh Centurions owner Derek Beaumont has been monitoring Elliot’s fitness closely after he sustained a knee injury in mid-August which ruled him out of the rest of the 2020 NRL season.

Beaumont said: “Brendan is a quality player who is highly regarded by contacts we hold in high esteem in the NRL.

"His injury has obviously set him back and we calmed our interest to monitor how that went, but he is progressing really well and will be ready for the early rounds.

“When a player is prepared to be judged on that and make the trip across the world to join you, knowing he has to come good, it tells you everything you need to know about where he is at.

“There’s a real bad perception of the UK in Australia at the moment with Covid and Brendan is rightly concerned about that, but he discussed everything at length with me and did his own research before agreeing to the move.

“Having got him over the line for it not to happen in 2018 I am really looking forward to seeing Brendan in a Leigh shirt and add depth and experience to the squad we are building.”

Centurions head coach John Duffy said: “Brendan is a valuable addition and brings a lot of NRL experience to our club.

“I’m looking forward to Brendan joining our group and coaching him. He’s played in some good teams and under some good coaches. I’m sure he will enjoy his time at our club and settle in quickly and add a lot to the group.”

Born on the Gold Coast, Elliot toured England with the Australian Institute of Sport team in 2011 but did not play in the tour game at Leigh Sports Village.

He later represented Queensland Under 20s and made a try-scoring NRL debut on the wing for the Roosters against Cronulla in July 2014.

In more recent seasons he has played mostly full-back and centre and has scored 21 tries in 66 NRL appearances.