Leigh Centurion John Duffy in the new away kit
Leigh Centurion John Duffy in the new away kit
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Leigh Centurions caretaker coach Paul Rowley wants the job permanently.

And after Leigh’s comprehensive pre-season crushing of Salford City Reds at their new stadium last weekend, it would appear that Paul’s claims are as good as any ones.

The Centurions are waiting on New Zealander Richie Blackmore and/or Australian Matt Adamson securing the necessary work visa clearances to take up a General Manager job at the Leigh Sports Village that will include a head coaching role.

But as Acting Chairman Keith Freer admits, just when that will happen is hidden in the mists of time.

“It is down to the UK Border Agency,” explained Keith. “But we are having difficulty in getting some clarity on where this stands at present and it is all very frustrating for everyone concerned.”

But whether the Leigh Board need to wait is another matter as Rowley firmly put his hat in the ring to take over the club’s reins after that Salford success.

“Yes I would like it!” he said when asked, before confirming that as yet he has not officially applied for the post.

“I wouldn’t turn it down. I didn’t apply for it, but initially the idea was that I was to be mentored by Ian (Millward) and take it from there. I certainly wouldn’t say no to the job. It excites me and I would be a fool to say no.

“I know quite a few senior players have asked me to take the job, but I have not pursued that. I am just committed to the club and the players and will do my best for everybody.”

Rowley has been on the Leigh coaching staff for almost five years first assisting Neil Kelly and then Millward, as he called time on a distinguished playing career that saw him start and finish with his home town club. He even was a caretaker coach before after Kelly’s departure and before Millward arrived. But that is something Paul feels is the lot of an assistant.

“In troubled times assistants get called upon, and I have been here before,” he said.

“Things happen for a reason, and if they want me I am here. It is the club that matters and it is the club I love and I serve them to the best of my ability. But I certainly wouldn’t turn down any chances of coaching it.

“I am enjoying coaching and will continue to do so until somebody tells me otherwise.

“Obviously when the new coach does come in I will try and make that transition for him and the players as smooth as possible.

“In the meantime I have been leading the pre season training, leading the retention and recruitment of players and forging links with clubs who we can call upon for dual registered players.

“I have good relationships with Wigan and Warrington and we will be talking to those two clubs in particular. I have done a lot of work and enjoyed it and the win against Salford was a reward to all the players and staff for their loyalty to the club in troubled times.

“To come up with a win against a Super League side is fantastic but to come up with a win against a full strength Salford side that wanted a win at the new stadium is even better.

“In history we are the first team to win at this stadium and albeit a friendly this is an impressive scalp for us.

“We have come a long way in six weeks. We are a tight unit, and the loyalty that the players have shown to the club is second to none and we deserve it.

“But we will not carried away , Salford had a 34% completion rate in the first half which enabled us to have plenty of possession, but we kept our energy levels up and although we know we still have a lot of work to do it was most encouraging.

“We did lose Bob Beswick early on and he will be touch and go for the next friendly, and Duffy came off near the end, although he was just a bit battered and bruised.

“But if you look at the three back rows, Sam Hopkins, Craig Briscoe and Tommy Goulden, they near enough did 80 minutes apiece, and Craig and Sam haven’t yet got more than 10 first team appearances. So they were out of a comfort zone into a place they were not used to. But everybody has put their hand up quite brilliantly and we got the result we deserved.”

But for now Rowley will get on with the task in hand as he seeks to prepare the players for the new season that starts on February 12.

“I want to create a consistency at the club,” He said. “There is plenty to work on, but we can build on this, improve and get that consistency through bringing in new additions and adding pressure for places.

“Obviously new signings will not be through dual contracts not until all friendlies are over. But we will monitor who is available. I have a wish list as every coach must have. I have put that into the administrators and hopefully they will come up with the players I want in the next few weeks.”