Tommy Goulden, consistently one of Leigh’s best forwards, has announced his retirement with immediate effect.
The 34-year-old back row forward, who was contracted until November 2016 will now concentrate on his electrical business after playing what proved to be his final professional game in the Super 8s qualifier against Widnes Vikings.
Leigh born, Tommy has enjoyed a fantastic career in both the amateur and professional ranks.
As an amateur, Tommy played with distinction for Leigh Miners, helping them lift the National Conference title in the 2004-05 season and also earning County and International honours. He captained his country in the 2004 Victory Cup and toured Australia later that season.
After turning professional with Rochdale Hornets in 2005, he spent three seasons at Spotland before moving to Oldham and joined his hometown club during Ian Millward’s time as Head Coach, earning Heritage Number 1330 after his debut againstOldham in January 2010.
He has been a mainstay of the Centurions pack during each of the past six seasons and has made 155 appearances for the Club, scoring 53 tries. In his professional career he scored 96 tries in 354 appearances.
Tommy was a member of the Leigh side that won the Northern Rail Cup Finals against Halifax at Blackpool in 2011 and Sheffield Eagles at Halifax in 2013, scoring a try in the latter game but missed the 2014 Championship Grand Final due to an operation. He played a major role in the Centurions side that lifted the Championship Shield in both 2014 and 2015 seasons, losing only two league games in two seasons.
Leigh Centurions Head of Rugby Derek Beaumont said: “Tommy epitomises what a dedicated sportsman is. He is a work horse, a grafter, someone you would want in the trenches with you. He is extremely professional despite being a fantastic character. He is one of the toughest men I have seen, never taking a backward step, never prepared to back down.
“I guess most of all Tommy is honest and I respect the fact he has come to me early in the piece once he had made the difficult decision to call it a day. As he says your body knows when it is time and he has certainly put his body through the paces. Tommy is an out and out Leyther and proud to be so. I wish him all the success in the world with his electrical business and I have no doubt we will still see plenty of him around the club having a few social ones.
“On behalf of everyone at the club I would like to thank Tommy from the bottom of my heart for his outstanding service to it. He leaves on a high as a champion and that’s a true reflection of the man.”
Leigh Centurions head coach Paul Rowley said: “Congratulations Tommy on a wonderful career. Thanks for the honesty and support you have shown to me as your coach and honesty and bravery more than any other player in your performances.
“Most teams have a team member that is the Rock and cornerstone of the team and that as always been Tommy, respected by opponents and team-mates alike. Good on ya Tommy, much respect, you’re an inspiration to many and I look forward to sharing a beer with you in the future.
“Ps, you’re still on the club insurance until November if you want to get your nose sorted.”