Salford are celebrating the permanent signing of controversial former Canberra and Sydney Roosters winger Justin Carney.
The 27-year-old is currently on a season-long loan from Castleford, who booted him out last year following an affair with the partner of teammate, but will now stay with the Red Devils after they agreed a deal with the Tigers.
Wigan were thought to be showing interest in Carney and Salford say they have beaten off competition from a host of rival clubs for his signature on a contract that will keep him at the AJ Bell Stadium until the end of 2019.
Salford head coach Ian Watson said: “Justin is a real good bloke to have around the place. He is a great influence on the group and a hugely competitive professional.
“He wants to win things and you see that in his attacking play. He is a 100 miles per hour player and he is the top metre maker in the competition this year. That’s a big plus for any team.”
Carney was a big fans’ favourite at Castleford, where he was affectionately known as the “tank on the flank” for the devastating finishing power that brought him 63 tries in 62 appearances.
But his career was thrown into jeopardy towards the end of last season when reports emerged of an affair with the partner of a team-mate.
Carney’s stay at the Jungle became untenable and, after weeks of uncertainty, he was thrown a lifeline by Salford owner Marwan Koukash.
He has scored six tries in 12 Super League appearances so far for the Red Devils, including two against Castleford in their 32-16 win at the Jungle in March.
“I feel right at home at Salford,” Carney said. “Marwan was there from day dot for me and there are a lot of people like (Michael) Dobson, (Weller) Hauraki and (Junior) Sa’u I have played with previously and I work well with.
“There are a lot of good people here so why would I leave?”
Carney will return to face his former club in the next round of the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup on May 7.
In a statement, Castleford said: “Castleford Tigers can confirm that Justin Carney’s request to be released from his contract has been accepted.
“The release will happen on June 1 and Carney will remain on loan at Salford Red Devils until then.
“Castleford Tigers will make no further comment on this matter.”