Jukes resigns as head coach of Leigh

Leigh Centurions head coach Neil Jukes has resigned from his position at the club, this comes after talks with owner Derek Beaumont.

The club have announced that Kieron Purtill will take over as caretaker coach with Paul Anderson acting as his assistant while the club appoints a new head coach.

Jukes has a long association with Leigh, having played, coached and now led the club in his various positions at the club. He made his first team debut for the centurions in 1995 having come through the club’s academy system. After his playing career was cut short due to injury, he turned to a life in coaching and went back to Leigh in 2009.

He learnt his trade coaching at the reserve levels before becoming more involved at first team level, and eventually became head coach in 2016, leading the club back to Super League in his first season in charge.

On his departure from the club 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 commented: “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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