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Page last updated at 15:23 GMT, Monday, 6 April 2009 16:23 UK

Gleeson leaves Wolves for Wigan

Martin Gleeson
Gleeson is one of the best offloaders in Super League

Wigan have confirmed the signing of England centre Martin Gleeson from Super League rivals Warrington on a three-and-a-half-year deal.

And former Leeds full-back Richie Mathers, 25, has moved in the opposite direction as part of the deal.

BBC Sport understands the undisclosed transfer fee for the 28-year-old Gleeson is in the region of £125,000.

"It's a shock move and a big step but one I'm delighted with," Wigan-born Gleeson told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"I got a phone call saying the club had been approached by Wigan and that they were willing to accept a certain amount of money.

"It's been a long time coming to play for my hometown club. I came for a trial when I was 17 but didn't quite make it - but I've got here eventually and I'm delighted."

Gleeson said his decision had also been influenced by the desire to add more winners' medals to the trophies he won in his spell with St Helens.

Warrington have been tipped to make the breakthrough at the top of the sport for several seasons, but success has proved elusive for their talented squad.

"I have possibly underachieved at club level," said Gleeson.

"I thought I was going to win stuff but it never quite happened, for reasons unknown. Hopefully I can move to Wigan and try something different.

"I think Tony Smith will do wonders, but it's probably just run its course for me and Warrington - it's time to freshen up and it's probably best for all parties."

Richard Mathers
Mathers is hoping to resurrect his career by joining Warrington

For Mathers, the move to the Halliwell Jones Stadium - on a two-and-a-half-year deal - offers the chance to kickstart a career that has been interrupted by injury and loss of form.

The former England full-back signed for NRL side Gold Coast Titans from Leeds after suffering a serious knee injury in May 2006.

Mathers suffered another bad knee injury in Australia before returning to Super League with Wigan, but the move has not panned out as hoped for the player.

"I'm really looking forward to reuniting my association with Richard," said Smith, who was previously in charge of Leeds.

"I found him a real pleasure to coach and I look forward to helping him return to some of the form he has shown in the past."

Meanwhile, Gleeson's contract will take him up to 2012, and he admitted he would like to end his career with Wigan.

606: DEBATE

"All my family are delighted - I'm a proud Wiganer and all my family are fans of the club," he said.

"Over the last few years Wigan haven't done as well as they have traditionally. But hopefully this will give me and the team a bit of a boost and we can pick things up from here.

"Any talk of me going to Australia is dead in the water now. I did have ambitions to go and play in the NRL but this opportunity has come up and I jumped at the chance."

Gleeson, who is expected to make his Wigan debut against St Helens on Thursday, was left out of the Warrington team that beat York 56-10 in the Challenge Cup on Saturday to avoid him becoming cup-tied.

Martin's acquisition shows that Wigan will pay a substantial fee to acquire the right player

Wigan chairman Ian Lenagan

He became the most expensive signing in Warrington's history when he joined from St Helens for £250,000 in 2004.

Gleeson has won 20 Great Britain caps and six caps for England, and played in last year's World Cup in Australia.

Wigan coach Brian Noble, who picked Gleeson for the Lions in his time as Great Britain boss, said: "I'm absolutely thrilled to acquire the services of Martin.

"This is a huge fillip for us. I think the Wigan fans will see the best from him over the next few years. He will bring a new dimension to our attacking options."

And Wigan chairman Ian Lenagan added: "I am delighted when Wigan announce the signing of an England international but when he's Wigan-born, that makes it even more special.

"Martin is an exceptional strike centre and can play stand-off too and his acquisition shows that Wigan will pay a substantial fee to acquire the right player."



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see also
Warrington 56-10 York
04 Apr 09 |  Rugby League
Super League Show
17 Feb 08 |  Rugby League
Mathers returns to UK with Wigan
06 Nov 07 |  Rugby League
Gleeson signs new Wolves contract
15 Nov 07 |  Warrington
Five-star Gleeson sinks Salford
02 Feb 06 |  Warrington
Gleeson to bounce back even better
28 Oct 04 |  International
Gleeson signs for Wolves
23 Jul 04 |  St Helens


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