Leigh’s head of rugby Derek Beaumont says the club remains totally focused on reaching Super League.
Beaumont may have been mentioned and fined more by the RFL than any on-field bad boy but the way he and his board of directors have turned Leigh around since coming in during 2013 is nothing short of remarkable.
Listening to the man is inspiring and his plans for the club in 2016 will be manna from heaven for Centurions fans.
“It wasn’t boom or bust last year,” said Beaumont. “It was just a little disappointing that we didn’t get sixth, but you do one of two things don’t you?
“You either hold back or you carry on with the plans you have. I’m in a position financially where I can carry on with the plans I had and I was motivated when I saw Bradford rest a few against Halifax which then enabled Wakefield to rest a few against Sheffield. I thought do I allow those outcomes to affect what I’m going to do. The thought process was about 30 seconds and the answer was no.”
With the recruitment of the aforementioned trio and Melbourne prop forward Dayne Weston plus the continued linking of Rangi Chase with the club the question on everyone’s lips is how are the club doing it with the current salary cap rules?
Currently standing at £1m in the Championship, Beaumont admits Leigh are likely to be bust the cap.
“I’ve made no secret in saying those players don’t fit into that figure,” Beaumont told The Leigh Observer.
“The RFL know that it doesn’t. But they know that we think that is wrong. At this moment in time I feel those rules could be changed and are subject to being challenged.
“The rules are there to ensure fair play. The salary cap is there to ensure some consistency in a division and make sure it is fair.
“Unfortunately and not by any malice by the RFL, they have brought out a new format, and whenever you change anything or do things, there is always going to be a fall-out from that where you’ve not thought everything through.
“The cap is certainly one where I think from a legal point of view there is an issue because we have now brought two competitions together on different caps.
“The RFL have tried to address that by saying you can apply to spend more on the Qualifiers, but it doesn’t address it.
“Players are available now. I can’t sign Harrison Hansen two weeks before the eights start. Players contracts run to the end of November so everyone is competing for players now. Once they are all signed up to clubs, if you try and change a team at the Qualifiers stage, well you are feeding on people that are on loan or are fringe players, maybe they are coming back from injury or as we saw with Lee Smith, they are coming back from a different code. How can you expect players to just drop into your culture and understand your plays and know what you are doing within a couple of weeks?”
Beaumont argues that the cap should be the same for Super League and Championship and should be “personally guaranteed”.
He said: “I’m prepared to commit to fund it next year and I’d rather do it openly and honestly by challenging the rules in a legal manner and voicing it. I’ve asked for it to be tabled on the agenda for the October 21 meeting of the Championship clubs.
“I’ve already spoken to some clubs and some of them support what we are doing and I don’t see any negatives to it, why hold a competition back to its lowest common denominator? Some of those teams at the bottom, and this is no disrespect to them, can’t compete with the million pound anyway. I certainly think it’s a compelling debate that should be discussed, otherwise how any other clubs challenge the Super League status quo?”
Read Derek Beaumont’s explosive views every week in the Leigh Observer in his EXCLUSIVE new column, starting next Tuesday.