Leigh Centurions face battle to keep coach

Kieron Purtill is wanted by two other clubs. Picture: Paul McCarthy
Kieron Purtill is wanted by two other clubs. Picture: Paul McCarthy
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Leigh will revert to being a part-time team next season and they want Kieron Purtill to stay on as their coach.

However, the Leigh Observer understands Purtill has been approached by two other clubs to join their coaching set-ups for next season.

Purtill won plenty of admirers for the way he stepped in following the departure of Neil Jukes early in the season and he almost guided Leigh to a top four finish.

His reputation was further enhanced when the club was forced to offload many of their best players but kept winning games.

However the campaign which ended in chaotic circumstances when the RFL had to grant Leigh special dispensation to bring in nine players on loan to fulfill their final game of the season – the Championship Shield Final against Featherstone.

The club is yet to make any statement on what happens next season but Purtill has previously stated that they will be a “stripped down” part-time operation. Purtill is currently on holiday and little is likely to be decided while he’s away.

The Championship promises to be extremely competitive next season with the likes of Bradford and York being promoted as well as newly relegated Widnes who will stay full-time. Toronto will also continue their push for a Super League spot having been surprisingly beaten in the Million Pound Game.

Speculation last week suggested current Leigh owner Derek Beaumont was having second thoughts about withdrawing his financial support for the club but even if he stayed on, he would not be investing the kind of money he had previously. This time last season, Cenurions were recruiting heavily for the campaign to come but they face the prospect of building a squad from scratch.

Leigh could also face a situation where they are competing for training facilities at the LSV with Manchester United’s Womens team who are full-time and based at the stadium. With the team regularly bringing in attendances of more than 2,000 the LSV is keen to keep United onside as they push for promotion in their debut season.

Meanwhile Leigh prop Jamie Acton has been banned for five games for a late challenge in the Championship Shield Final against Featherstone.

Acton has been linked with a move to Salford but they’re unlikely to offer a deal to a player with such a ban hanging over him.

Another Leigh player on the way out is Matty Dawson-Jones. He posted on Instagram that he was leaving with Hull FC reportedly keen on the player for 2019.