DELIGHTED Huddersfield Giants are hailing the capture of top Australian Brad Drew as the club's biggest Super League signing.
The 28-year-old Canberra Raiders star will arrive for the start of the 2005 season on a two-year deal and is rated as one of the top hookers in the Australian game.
Drew is also an accomplished half-back and most of his nine appearances from the Raiders' 11 games this season have been from this position.
That didn't prevent him from playing hooker in this year's City v Country Origin clash, while he is second choice No9 to Australian Test hooker Danny Buderus in the New South Wales State of Origin squad.
In fact, should Newcastle Knights' star Buderus pick up an injury at the end of the season, Drew would be a favourite to take over as the Kangaroos hooker for this autumn's Tri Nations series.
That's a sign of Drew's stature in the game, with the former Penrith and Parramatta player noted as being very explosive from dummy half and with an excellent kicking game.
And Giants head coach Jon Sharp has no doubt Drew will make a massive impact in Super League X.
"The signing of Brad Drew is a massive boost for the club," said a delighted Sharp.
"I have known Brad for a number of years and always held him in very high regard. When we heard he might be available we moved very quickly to secure his signature.
"Brad is a tremendous signing for the Giants, his experience playing in the Australian NRL and his range of skill will add a new dimension to our squad for next season.
"Having spoken to Brad I know how excited he is at the opportunity to play for us in Super League and I am really looking forward to working with him."
The deal to finally secure Drew's signature was completed by Giants general manager Richard Thewlis and comes a fortnight after the arrival of fellow Canberra player James Evans.
The centre showed on his debut at Salford on Sunday that he will prove a valuable additiion, with Thewlis expecting at least the same from Drew.
"As far as we're concerned, this is the biggest signing we've made in Super League," he said.
"It gives a clear statement of intent from Huddersfield Giants.
"We all genuinely believe the club has a very bright future and we are delighted Brad shares our belief.
"He will not only enhance our squad, but Super League as a whole."