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The Manly Sea Eagles today announced the signing of Test forward Ben Kennedy to a two year term for the 2005 and 2006 seasons.
Kennedy informed the Newcastle Knights of his decision this morning before agreeing to join Manly.
Manly's executive director Paul Cummings and Kennedy's manager Mick Newton sealed the deal at a meeting at Manly Football Club.
"This is a major coup for Manly and a significant signing for the immediate future of the club," Mr. Cummings said.
"We have some of the most outstanding young players in the NRL and they will relish the professional and win at all costs Ben Kennedy brings to the club".
"It is a large step in the return to the top of the Rugby League tree for Manly," he said.
Ben Kennedy issued the following statement: "This decision has certainly been the most difficult of my career, and a decision that I have not taken lightly.
"The last five years at Newcastle have been the best of my life.
"I will always remember and be very grateful to the Newcastle Knights for the opportunities they have afforded me. The magnificent grand final victory in 2001 will always be a cherished memory," Kennedy said.
Kennedy said his decision is in the best interests of his family.
"I am very excited at the challenges that Manly offers and believe the club is on the way up. I hope I can contribute in bringing Manly success and look forward to joining them in 2005," Kennedy said.