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Confirmed: Super League halfback joins rival club

Leeds Rhinos, Wigan Warriors, Warrington Wolves and Hull FC have all made major signings for the 2024 season but the Black and Whites have now seen one of their players join Super League rivals Leigh Leopards in the shape of Ben McNamara.

The son of Catalans Dragons head coach Steve McNamara, Ben is a versatile, playmaking halfback or hooker who has played Super League in each of the past four seasons.

By signing for the Leopards, he will be reunited with Adrian Lam, who coached him as a junior. After graduating through the ranks of the Skirlaugh community club in his native Hull he was part of the Sydney Roosters junior teams while his father was assistant coach at the NRL club. It was during that time that he first encountered Lam, who was engaged in coaching the junior teams.

“Lammy coached Ben a few years ago at the Roosters and has kept tabs on him,” explained Leopards Head of Rugby Chris Chester. “Ben is a good quality halfback or hooker with a good kicking game. “He’s still very young and he’s a tough competitor. He brings skill and versatility into our squad and having watched him play at Hull FC I’m looking forward to seeing him kick on in his career with our club.

“Ben had a good education in Australia and played his early rugby with one of the best and biggest clubs in the Roosters. I think he will be a good signing. He adds depth to our squad and brings good competition to the halfbacks and nines and I’d expect him to be a regular first team player in 2024.”

Ben McNamara, who will be 22 in December, made a try-scoring debut for Hull FC against Castleford Tigers in October 2020 and made 33 first team appearances for the club, scoring two tries and kicking 23 goals. Ironically his final appearance in the Black and White was in a 28-18 home defeat to his father’s team, Catalans Dragons, in July 2023.

Ben McNamara said: “I would like to thank Adrian, Chris and Derek for the opportunity to play for such a great club and in front of an amazing set of fans. I’m grateful to be joining at such an exciting time off the back of the team’s success in 2023.

“The chance to play under Adrian was a massive attraction for me. I believe in his values as coach and his desire to develop players is important for me at this point in my career. The Leopards’ style of play is also something that I look forward to being a part of. Their physicality in defence and fluid attack has been impressive to watch. The playing group seems to have a real togetherness and some great leaders who I’m looking forward to playing with.“

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