LEEDS Rhinos have signed England second-row Brett Ferres from Huddersfield Giants for an undisclosed fee.
The Giants vice-captain was put on the transfer list last month following an investigation into his “conduct away from the club.”
One of Super League’s top players and a star of England’s autumn Test series win over New Zealand, Ferres’ arrival at Headingley is a major coup for the champions.
Ferres, 29, will join subject to agreeing personal terms and passing a medical with the fee understood to be six-figures.
Rhinos chief executive Gary Hetherington said: “We are delighted to have secured a player of the quality of Brett Ferres to compliment our squad for next season.
“Brett knows a lot of our players from the England side and has known Carl Ablett since the pair were teenagers and toured Australia with the England Academy.
“They know Brett and they are looking forward to having him within our group.
“We are fully aware of the challenge in front of us next season as we look to build on the achievements of last season and adding a player of international class like Brett is a major boost to our plans.
“I would like to thank Richard Thewlis and the Huddersfield Giants for the way they have dealt with the process and I am sure we have come to an arrangement that allows all parties to move onto the next stage and look forward to 2016.”
Ferres scored 28 tries in 77 appearances for Huddersfield lifting the 2013 League Leaders’ Shield and having been bought from hometown Castleford Tigers the season before.
He played in the 2013 World Cup with England, having also earned selection in the Super League Dream Team, and has earned a reputation as a classy, ball-handling forward.
Ferres turned down a move to the NRL last May before agreeing a new four-year deal at Huddersfield although his time at the Giants has come to a premature end following that off-field indiscretion.
He started his career at Bradford Bulls in 2005, winning the 2006 World Club Challenge before moving to Wakefield Trinity Wildcats at the end of that season as part of the deal that took Kiwi star David Solomona to the Bulls.
Ferres has made over 250 appearances in Super League and was man-of-the-match when England defeated the Kiwis in the opening test in November when he scored two tries after coming off the bench at Hull having scored a hat-trick in the 84-4 warm-up thrashing of France the week before.
With second-rows Stevie Ward and Jamie Jones-Buchanan both set to miss the start of the season, Ferres’ arrival will certainly be welcomed by the treble-winners.
He is likely to be part of the Rhinos squad that travels to Jacksonville in North Florida ahead of their Super League opener versus visiting Warrington Wolves on February 4.
Leeds head coach Brian McDermott said: “We are pleased to have Brett on board.
“Our other three England internationals also return this week so he has not missed any of our pre-season preparations in comparison to those players.
“He is a tough competitor and someone I have admired for many years and it is great that the club have moved quickly to secure his services.
“He will immediately begin training with us with just four weeks to go until the start of the season whilst the terms are being agreed.”
Ferres added: “I would like to thank Gary Hetherington and Brian McDermott for making this move possible.
“The Rhinos are a fantastic organisation and I am looking forward to being part of the squad next season.
“The last year has seen plenty of ups and downs for me. However this move gives me an opportunity to finally look forward to the future with confidence and be part of something special here at the Rhinos.”