Leigh Centurions have confirmed the signing of Tom Amone, who becomes the latest addition to their squad preparing for the 2022 Betfred Championship campaign.
Amone, 24, made eight appearances for Wests Tigers in the 2021 NRL season after spending two years at South Sydney Rabbitohs.
Born in Westmead, New South Wales of Tongan descent, Amone is an out and out middle known for his aggression in both attack and defence who follows in the footsteps of his uncle Asa in coming to play in England.
Asa Amone was a dual code international for Tonga, playing in the 1987 rugby union World Cup and 1995 Rugby League World Cup. He played for Halifax, Featherstone Rovers and Doncaster during the 1990s, playing alongside current Leigh Centurions head of rugby Chris Chester at ‘Fax.
Chris Chester explained how the approach to Tom Amone came about.
“I looked at signing Tom when I was at Wakefield Trinity 12 months ago, but at the time there wasn’t a quota spot available,” he said. “He’s player that reminds me a lot of Kelepi Tanganoa at Wakefield, someone who people didn’t know too much about before he came, but soon found out about once he’d arrived.
“Tom has good leg speed and can play. He’s aggressive in attack and defence and his style of play will be ideally suited to the game over here.
“He’s a nice, humble guy and he’s coming here for the right reasons. He’s only 24 and has a big career in front of him and I’m looking forward to seeing him play at Leigh Centurions. He’s another signing for our fans to get excited about.”
Speaking from his home in Sydney Tom Amone revealed that former Wigan halfback Jackson Hastings, who has recently joined Wests Tigers, recommended he try his luck in England. And that advice, plus the opportunity to be coached by Adrian Lam, made up his mind.
“Jackson and I have the same manager,” Tom said. “He told me to go over to England and said I’d love to play there. Jackson played under Adrian at Wigan and said that Leigh would be a good club for me.
“My manager, too, advised that it would be a good move to go overseas, and that Leigh was a good club, with all the facilities and the fan base and with Adrian being there.
“I’m a little bit nervous but I’m also very excited and I can’t wait to get over to the UK and prepare for a big season ahead. I know what the ambitions of the club are, and I want to play my part in helping Leigh Centurions achieve their goal of getting back into Super League.
“Who knows? If things work out as planned, I may stay for a long time. I’m looking forward to meeting my new teammates and all the staff and fans.”
Tom Amone has played at Leigh Sports Village before, as part of the Australian Schoolboys’ seven-match tour of England and France in 2014. He later represented the Junior Kiwis in 2016, playing alongside recent Centurions signing Ata Hingano.
His chance in the NRL came about after he impressed playing for Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles in the Intrust Super Premiership NSW, where the former Leigh Centurions halfback Pat Weisner (HN#1205) was head coach.
After winning the Sea Eagles’ Best and Fairest Player awards in 2018, Amone was snapped up by the Rabbitohs and handed his NRL debut by legendary head coach Wayne Bennett against Penrith Panthers in Round 14 of the 2019 season.
He made nine NRL appearances for the Rabbitohs before his 2020 campaign was cut short by injury in Round 6 and after being released at the end of that season fought back to earn a contract with the Tigers.
He was named in the NSW Cup Team of the Year in 2018 alongside recent Leigh Centurions signing Caleb Aekins.