KEIGHLEY Cougars have announced the impressive signing of Mark Ioane.

The New Zealand-born prop arrives at Cougar Park on a two-year deal, joining the from Super League side Leigh Centurions.

Departing Leigh Sports Village following three seasons with the club, Ioane was a regular in the Leigh side that won promotion from the second tier last season.

His arrival brings experience and leadership to the front row, and head of rugby Andrew Henderson is delighted with his and head coach Rhys Lovegrove’s latest acquisition.

“Mark is a first-class person and player,” said Henderson.

“He brings NRL, Super League, and Championship pedigree to the team so I am excited he has decided to join us.

“I had the pleasure of bringing Mark to the London Broncos from the NRL.

“He was a tremendous player for that team, and I believe he will be a tremendous player for this team.

“Mark will give us plenty of good go forward and will work hard for his teammates defensively.

“His experience and quality will be vital to our pack, and I know he will be a great role model to our younger forwards.

“I would like to extend a warm welcome to Mark, Sereh, and his children, to the Cougars family.”

Beginning his career with the New Zealand Warriors, the forward was an integral part of the Junior Warriors side that won the Toyota Cup in 2010.

His performance also earned international recognition as he was named in the Junior Kiwis squad at the conclusion of that season.

Making the decision to move to Australia, Ioane signed with the Canberra Raiders ahead of the 2011 campaign.

Unable to break into the first-grade side in the capital, he featured for both the South Logan Magpies in the Queensland Cup and the Mount Pritchard Mounties in the New South Wales Cup.

His form at the latter in particular earned him a move to the Gold Coast Titans.

Playing for the Burleigh Bears in the Queensland Cup competition, his performances did not go unnoticed for long, as the prop was finally handed his first-grade debut in the NRL.

Ironically, his debut for the Titans in May 2013 was against his former club, the New Zealand Warriors.

He went on to make a further 23 appearances on the Gold Coast before a mid-season move in 2015 to the St George Illawarra Dragons.

Ioane’s stay in Sydney was only be a brief one as he made the decision to move to England and sign with a London Broncos side coached by Henderson.

Making a century of appearances during his four-year stay with the Broncos, he became integral to both Henderson and his successor Danny Ward.

And the efforts of Ioane and his teammates were rewarded in 2018, as the side won the Million Pound Game and with it, promotion to Super League.

Despite a valiant effort the following year, London were relegated back to the Championship on the final day of the season and the Kiwi left the club to sign with Leigh.

With the 2020 season cut short due to Covid, the withdrawal of Toronto Wolfpack from Super League saw the Centurions elevated to the top flight ahead of 2021.

However, their stay in top division was a brief one, with the club relegated straight back to the Championship. Ioane made 16 appearances that season for Leigh.

The Centurions bounced back immediately in 2022 and secured the double, winning both the Championship and the 1895 Cup.

Ioane made a further 23 appearances in the red and white, playing in that 1895 Cup final victory over Featherstone at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Following the club’s promotion, and expiration of his contract at Leigh Sports Village, Lovegrove and Henderson swooped to bring Ioane to Cougar Park for the next two seasons.

Players contracted for season 2023 (as of 12/10/2022): Sadiq Adebiyi; Mo Agoro; Dane Chisholm; Ben Crooks; Thomas Doyle; Keenan Dyer-Dixon; Toby Everett; Billy Gaylor; Charlie Graham; Mark Ioane; Kyle Kesik; Aaron Levy; Josh Lynam; Jack Miller; Dan Parker; Eddy Pettybourne; Ellis Robson; Lloyd Roby; Nathan Roebuck; Brenden Santi; Harvey Spence; Alix Stephenson; Robbie Storey; Kyle Trout; Brad Walker; Jake Webster; Lewis Young.