Leigh’s owner and head of rugby Derek Beaumont says he has huge admiration for outgoing coach Paul Rowley.
Writing in his exclusive Leigh Observer column, Beaumont said he was disappointed to see him go.
Here’s what he had to say ...
When I was first asked if I would do a weekly column for this new paper, I thought I would struggle to come up with things to talk about on a weekly basis, especially in the closed season - but how wrong could I be!
This week sees the start of the season and I am sat writing this at the Championship launch at the Worsley Marriot where the anticipation of the season starting is creating a really positive energy and a good buzz about the place with all the captains looking good in their new kits.
One thing I never thought I would do in my role owning the club was appoint a new head coach, it’s just something I didn’t envisage having to do. However nothing is forever and you cannot predict what is round the corner.
While Paul Rowley decided to leave the club for his own personal reasons I want to use this space to pay him the respect I feel he deserves. Rolls was the very person that got me back involved at the club and I really enjoyed my time working with him, and savouring some great moments together.
Rolls was my favourite Leigh player when I was a sponsor in 2002. He wore his heart on his sleeve was a real tough competitor that never took a backward step. He is a Leigh lad, very proud of the town and the club, and the fact that his father before him played for the club - something not many dad and lads can boast.
He achieved playing at the highest level and was proud to have represented his country. Whilst he had many years away from Leigh it was always the place he called home and was very proud to be a part of.
It is a desire of many that play the game to progress into coaching but when you consider there are so few jobs available it isn’t something many people achieve, and not for their home town club where they played. Paul is young in the world of coaching yet has achieved many things.
He first took the mantle when the club was really in tatters and not at a time that he would have wanted it but he put his hand up and had a go. Despite a real low and tough time he took the flack and stayed loyal.
That loyalty paid dividends when he again took the mantle and he took a team to win the Northern Rail Cup. A team that it could be argued over achieved in doing so.
He got the best out of people, generating a real team spirit to achieve that, and nurtured players like Ryan Brierley and Gregg McNally. Rolls was immensely proud and rightly so of what he achieved with limited budgets in the early years and on that basis he continually over-achieved.
I was more than happy to invest in his vision and the players he believed could do the job and he never let me down.
The records that have been set during his tenure will hopefully remain for a serious amount of time, they were that remarkable.
When we drew Leeds away in the cup many, including myself at the time, thought that it was an insurmountable task and in such a pivotal season left us with little to no chance. That wasn’t the way Rolls saw it.
He genuinely believed he could beat Leeds and more to the point, had every player in the team believing they could. He came extremely close and that performance made many sit up and take notice of little Leigh.
More than all the victories in the last two seasons and the back to back Championship successes, with only two defeats in two seasons, what I think Rolls will be remembered for - and certainly will by me - is the entertaining brand of rugby league we were served up week in, week out.
Tries scored from inside our own in goal line, prepared to attack from anywhere on the field on any play. He encouraged people to be their best and to express themselves and he should get all the credit he deserves from our fans for the entertainment and success he provided.
He has a lovely wife and two wonderful children and has great parents of his own. He is a very proud professional man who deserves everything he achieves. He has done well for himself and doesn’t need to go through the daily grind of work, but I sincerely hope that he gets bored and gets back involved in the game as he has got so much to offer it.
I have always stated I think he would be successful at whatever level he operated and I genuinely believe that. I have been privileged to have shared these last two seasons with him and am disappointed that there won’t be more with him at the helm.
He goes out with his head held high in my opinion as a very successful and passionate coach who has certainly been a very positive influence on Leigh Centurions, and can most certainly look back comforted and proud that he left it in a far better position than he found it. Good luck Rolls. God bless you and your family.