Wigan Warriors capture Mathers
Wigan Warriors have signed full-back Richard Mathers, aged 24, from the Gold Coast Titans in Australia.
Richard has signed a three year contract with Wigan for seasons 2008-2009-2010 with the second and third seasons subject to having played a minimum number of Super League 2008 games.
Richard has been released from his commitments with the Gold Coast Titans to return to England and joins the Wigan squad for pre-season training in late November.
New Wigan Owner, Ian Lenagan, said: "This signing is our first and involves a young British player with great attitude who wants to play for Wigan and has that rare combination of youth, undoubted talent and big game experience.
"The risk of signing a player recovering from injury has been minimised by detailed medical examinations and there are cost benefits to the club. We look forward to Richard Mathers delivering skill, quality of performance and value over a long career with Wigan."
Mathers said: "This is a fantastic chance for me to join the greatest name in Rugby League and was too good an opportunity for me to turn down. I have had a great time in Australia with the Gold Coast Titans and thank everyone at the club for the way they have looked after me on and off the field.
"My experiences in the NRL have improved me as a player and, now that I'm well on the way to full fitness, I can't wait to meet the boys for pre-season training which gets underway in Wigan in a couple of weeks time."
Wigan head coach Brian Noble said: "We are thrilled to get hold of a player of Richard's ability. He is an outstanding acquisition and an outstanding individual.
"I have known Richie since the age of fifteen and have seen him progress through the ranks. He has played in Grand Finals and in the NRL. He is used to pressure football and will be a tremendous asset for the Wigan Club."
Medical investigations were completed over the weekend by Doctor Chris Brookes who acts as Consultant Specialist in Sports Medicine to Wigan Warriors and is also the Great Britain Team Physician.
These included reviewing the medical records, discussing the details of the procedure and rehabilitation progress with the Surgeon who performed the operation in June, 2007, plus arranging an independent medical examination in Brisbane on behalf of Wigan by the surgeon who operated on Darren Lockyer's knee.
All were highly satisfactory indicating a return to full match fitness around the end of February 2008.
Name: Richard Mathers
Positio: Full Back
Height: 1.82 metres
Previous Clubs: Leeds Rhinos, Gold Coast Titans