Derek Beaumont labels Hull FC ‘desperate’ after swift John Asiata announcement

Leigh owner Derek Beaumont with John Asiata.
Leigh owner Derek Beaumont with John Asiata. -Credit:SW Pix

Hull FC have been called 'desperate' by Leigh Leopards owner Derek Beaumont over the timing of their announcement of John Asiata. The Black and Whites announced the signing of the Leythers forward on a three-year deal on Friday afternoon, with Hull Live breaking the story an hour or so before.

Hull fended off both Super League and NRL interest to secure the deal, with Leigh also looking to retain their current Dream Team player and captain. Beaumont confirmed the offer was there for Asiata to stay at Leigh into the 2025 season. However, they weren't prepared to match the length of the deal and wage offered by the Yorkshire club, which, as reported on Friday, is understood to be over £200,000 a season.

Speaking ahead of Leigh's game with Castleford Tigers this Saturday, which finished 28-28, Beaumont landed several digs at Hull, even suggesting that Asiata has been ‘thrown under a bus’ by his future employers.

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"We’ve signed players that we’ve not announced," Beaumont said. "There’s a player that’s been signed from here that hasn’t been announced by their new club because the correct etiquette around it is that that business just remains private. If it gets leaked or whatever, then you don’t comment on it or acknowledge it.

"To see John thrown under a bus by the club he’s going to go to, in my opinion, by putting that out with a picture of him holding the cup with words that I think have been provided by his agent rather than him, it’s not really good behaviour from Hull. But desperate people do desperate things, and that’s what I put it down to because they look pretty desperate."

Beaumont also confirmed that Leigh's original one year offer was based on the club's 'medical knowledge' of the player, with the Leythers raising that offer to two years. Unfortunately for them, Hull had already offered a three-year deal with an increased salary, with Asiata set for a bumper move to the Airlie Birds next season.

"John is our captain, and he's been absolutely fantastic for us," Beaumont continued. "We brought him over when he had no club into the championship, and he's grown really well for us.

"We wanted to keep John. We offered him a one-year deal because, at his age, with the medical knowledge that we have, and the intelligence that we speak with, we felt that, from the club’s point of view, that was the best thing to do.

"We agreed on an increase in his salary that his agent was okay with, but he wanted two years. We understood that, so we moved to do that after we’d seen him recover from his injury. You don't want to be dealing with players on long deals when they are sitting injured. It’s a common thing in our sport, but it doesn’t give you a lot of confidence.

"We have to also factor in that at the end of last season, John missed the last four games through being injured; he then played one game and a few minutes and got injured, then returned against Catalans for 20 minutes and has gotten injured again. We're sitting with a player who has played one in 15 games plus 20 minutes, a significant salary, and a quota spot.

"But we conceded to the second year, and then we were told there was a significant offer which we’d need to increase, and we just simply said no. You can’t have somebody coming in chucking crazy daft offers like that.

"If they want to run their business like that and give a player a three-year deal when we think two is risky, then that’s their prerogative and the business what they want to do. When I found out the figures that he’s getting, which have been reported in the press, I was made up for John.

"I was staggered by it, but I was made up for him and I contacted John to say I was made up for him and his family to secure his future for three years on a significant contract. I said I know you'll give everything to this club to finish on a high.

"There's no doubt about his commitment. What came out with his 'comments' doesn't look good on John, but that's the measure of the behaviour, the type of club he's going to and the standards that they seem to be prepared to set themselves on their conduct."

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