Stewart capture just the start

Glenn Stewart in action this year
Glenn Stewart in action this year

Neil Jukes says Leigh will strengthen on and off the field as they start planning for life in Super League next year.

Centurions served notice of their ambitions on Sunday night by confirming the signing of Catalans forward Glenn Stewart.

And they have lined up several more new signings who are expected to be announced once the Super 8s have concluded.

Former player Kieron Purtill is due to join the coaching staff in November and the club is already looking at making further appointments as they begin preparations for their first season in Super League since 2005.

“We are always planning,” explained Leigh coach Jukes.

“What the previous squad achieved was outstanding. You only have to look at the intensity of the Hull KR v Huddersfield game on Saturday to see the quality of opposition still fighting to stay in Super League.

“We have done our job and now some players will start moving on. I must commend the way they have been professional and got on with their jobs. The likes of Andrew Dixon and Greg Worthington have conducted themselves extremely well.

“But now we are freshening up the squad with some new arrivals who will give us much needed Super League experience. We are not going to announce the signings until the Super 8s have finished because some players are still involved and that’s the right way to do things.”

Leigh suffered their first, and only, Qualifiers defeat at Leeds on Thursday. It was a disappointing performance from the Centurions who had already seen off top-flight opposition in Hull KR, Huddersfield and Salford on their way to securing a top-two finish. “I wasn’t downhearted by the result, just disappointed by the performance,” said Jukes.

“We went to Headingley believing we could win the game. But it showed us that you can’t have an off day against a Super League team. In the Championship you can have a blip and still win but that won’t happen next season. We have got to be good every week.”

After a short break in the Portugese sunshine this week, Jukes will be back to his desk working on the preseason schedule. He said: “The players and coaches are ready for a break but it didn’t stop me waking up on Friday after the Leeds game ready to go back to work.

“We are already planning the preseason programme and will be working harder than we’ve ever done in November and December.

“We are under no illusions about the size of the task ahead next year and we want to be ready for it.”