Senior seals Crusaders deal
Crusaders RL have completed the signing of former Great Britain centre Keith Senior on a two-year contract.
The Welsh club have beaten off competition from a number of Engage Super League rivals to secure the signature of Senior following his decision to leave Leeds Rhinos.
The move sets up the intriguing prospect of Senior, who turns 36 next April, lining up alongside a 37-year-old Gareth Thomas in the Crusaders three-quarter line in 2012.
Senior, who is currently sidelined with a season-ending knee injury, will link up with his former Leeds team-mate Iestyn Harris at the Racecourse Ground.
“I am delighted to accept the Crusaders’ offer of a two-year deal,” said Senior, who is one of just three survivors from the inaugural Super League season of 1996.
“After the heart-wrenching decision to leave Leeds after 13 years, it was very important for me to find the right club.
“I was fortunate to receive several offers from Super League clubs but, after speaking to Iestyn, I was particularly impressed with his plans and enthusiasm for the future of the Crusaders.
“I am aware that the club has a difficult building process ahead and I feel that with my 18 years of professional rugby experience I will be able to contribute greatly and hopefully help change the Crusaders into a club which is challenging for honours.
“I see this move as a great challenge and I hope that the drive and determination that I have to succeed will bring success to the Crusaders.
“The last few weeks have been difficult for me with my injury and I am not a good spectator. My knee is on the mend and I am relishing the opportunity of getting back on the field next season after this break fresher than ever.”
Senior’s professional career began with Sheffield Eagles in 1995 and he won the first of 33 Great Britain caps against Fiji in 1996.
He was a member of the Eagles’ 1998 Challenge Cup-winning team at Wembley and was the first man to reach 500 games in Super League.
Senior, who was last year named in the Dream Team for the fifth time, has scored more Super League tries than any other player (199) and holds the record for the most appearances in the competition with 413.
Harris said: “Keith Senior is a world-class player and I am delighted that he has decided to join the Crusaders.
“He has been the top centre in Super League for over 12 years now and players of Keith’s quality do not come along very often.
“I’ve played alongside Keith and he is a very special player. He’s a devastating attacker who always gives 100% to the cause.
“Keith’s leadership skills, experience and winning mentality can only make us a stronger team next season.
“Keith will offer us size and power, as well as a try-scoring threat. He is still at the top of his game and his signing is a major coup for us.
“I spoke at great length with Keith before he signed. He’s still got a drive and a hunger to succeed and he has bought into what we are trying to achieve here in Wrexham.
“It is an exciting signing for us and I am looking forward to working with him.”
Crusaders chief executive Rod Findlay said: “The fact that we are signing a player of Keith’s quality shows how ambitious we are here at the Crusaders.
“Keith had a number of offers from other clubs but he has decided to take up a new challenge here at the Racecourse Ground.”