English Super League Club the Huddersfield Giants, have assured Broncos centre Michael De Vere his two-year deal with them is not in jeopardy despite the goalkicking ace facing six months on the sidelines after rupturing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.
After several weeks of speculation De Vere made the move official at a media conference, hobbling around the Red Hill training facility after Tuesday�s training mishap.
De Vere had been fearful the club may withdraw their offer, but with confirmation from England that was not the case, the 27-year-old veteran was left to simply rue the miserable ending to what has been glittering nine seasons with Brisbane.
Since debuting against the Tigers in 1997 De Vere has chalked-up 162 first grade appearances including three premierships in 1997, 1998 and 2000. In that time he scored a club record 1062 points, topping the NRL�s pointscoring ladder on two separate occasions.
�It�s sad to leave after nine years, but there is no doubt it has been the best nine years of my life. I just love it here,� De Vere said.
�Obviously it�s disappointing to end my stay here with an injury but I�ve always had an ambition to play in England while still at peak and the club understood that and supported me in my decision.�
�I wanted to try to win another premiership before I left, but it�s obviously not meant to be.
�It�s not the end of the world though, I am just going to stay positive and get myself right for next season.�
Club boss Bruno Cullen applauded Huddersfield�s decision to stick with De Vere, saying the former Campbelltown junior was the most, professional and dedicated professional he had encountered.
�Mick arrived at the club when he wrote a letter to Wayne asking for an opportunity with what he believed was the most professional club headed by the best coach,� Mr Cullen said.
�Since coming he made every post a winner. He is a shining example to all young players in the club of what can be achieved if you are prepared to work hard and look after yourself.
�He is a champion of this club and we at the Broncos thank him for his contribution. He will be sorely missed next season.�
Typically De Vere was already talking about his recovery and rehabilitation, which is expected to take at least six months, ensuring his availability for the start of the 2005 English Super League season, which begins in March.
Reflecting on his years in Brisbane, De Vere said he was happy with his achievements and was looking forward to meeting the demands of a new competition with a side far less talented than the one he has played in for the last seven years.
�Moving the family was the toughest thing and getting used to grey skies and cold weather will be a challenge.
�The whole thing will be a big challenge and that�s what professional sport is about, challenging yourself.
�Winning the Premierships was really special and obviously playing for Australia was a highlight.
�I achieved everything I could have hoped for and a lot of that is due to the opportunities I have had here at the Broncos. It is a very special place and I am going to miss it.�