Neil Jukes resigns as Leigh Centurions coach

Neil Jukes

Neil Jukes has resigned his position as Leigh coach after discussions with club owner Derek Beaumont.

Kieron Purtill will take over as caretaker coach with Paul Anderson acting as his assistant while the Club advertises the position.

Neil Jukes coached the Club into Super League in his first year in charge in 2016 and has a long association with Leigh Centurions as both player and in a coaching role. The 41-year-old came up through the Academy ranks and made his first-team debut in January 1995 retrospectively earning Heritage Number 1084.

After his playing career was cut short by injury he turned his attentions to coaching and built up a fine reputation in the community game before re-joining the Centurions in 2009, coaching the reserves and then becoming increasingly involved in a wide range of first-team duties as assistant coach prior to taking over the head coaching position in January 2016.

Jukes said: “Since returning to Leigh I’ve been part of this Club for nearly ten years and I believe I’ve served it with distinction as assistant coach and head coach.

“We’ve had some unbelievably great times that I will never forget and also some bad times, far worse than we are experiencing at the moment.

“What is important is to get the Club and the playing group to where it needs to be and there comes a time when everyone’s lifespan on the shelf comes to an end.

“I’m a genuine local guy and no one will be more pleased than me if we achieve our Super League goal this year.

“I’d like to thank all the loyal fans for their support in good times and tough times and to those fans I’d say please continue to support the Club and support the finance that Derek puts into the Club.

“People will only realise how important Derek is to the Club when he stops putting in his own money. I’ve been involved at the Club before he came and after he came and the difference is like chalk and cheese.”

Leigh Centurions owner Derek Beaumont said: “It’s a sad day for me and, as I put in my programme notes a couple of weeks ago, Neil has the best interests of the Club at heart. When he thought he was the man who could no longer deliver he would let me know before I got in the position to have to sack him.

“We had a really interesting two hour conversation that I found very emotional, seeing a guy I know cares so deeply about this Club so much that he wants to leave the position open to a guy he believes will be better than him to take the Club forward.

“Neil has been an outstanding ambassador during my time at the Club and has served Leigh Centurions with distinction, remaining extremely professional at all times.

“My greatest memory of being involved in Rugby League was gaining promotion to Super League and for that I’ll be eternally grateful to Neil.

“I’ve had many a great memory with Neil, probably the highest being when we visited Australia earlier this year. Neil has been more than an employee and I class him as a personal friend and I’m sure he will continue to be that long after not only his involvement in Rugby League ends but also mine.

“I must admit that after hearing our fans boo and applaud the opposition I too considered my position at the Club as I do not welcome people booing our players. I fail to see how that will get them to perform for the shirt.

“I had a very good meeting with the players this morning and they are up for the fight.

“I would ask those supporters who are also up for backing the Club to come and support us in our next home against Featherstone Rovers this coming Sunday.

“And those that want to boo us please stay at home.

“I would rather take this fight on with one thousand people who back us than people who just turn up to support us in the good times.

“I firmly believe that Leigh Centurions has the ability to have a strong future in Super League and be competitive with a good youth structure behind us.

“As long as I believe that I will continue to invest my time and money to achieve that goal.

“We have got off to a bad start but it is how we finish and the fight is not over.”

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