Centurions mourn the passing of Joe Egan

LEIGH Centurions are mourning the death of Joe Egan.

Not only was he a huge part of Wigan's history, he also forms a big part of Leigh history too.

Egan joined Leigh for a record £5000 fee in October 1950 and succeeded Emlyn Jenkins as team coach.

His Leigh debut came on October 21 at Watersheddings, Oldham when as one of two try scorers, he helped Leigh to a 12-4 win.

He played 20 games in his first season, scoring three tries and presided over 32 games in charge, winning 20 and drawing two.

Leigh finished fourth in the league that season and Egan's arrival also coincided with the club's daring capture of Australian rugby union centre and skipper Trevor Allan.

He later handed a debut to another rugby union convert in Rex Mossop in addition to a number of other key figures in Leigh's playing history such as Peter Foster, Stan Owen, Bill Robinson, Mick Martyn and Brian Fallon.

His second season with Leigh saw him play in 40 of 47 games for the club, scoring two tries but guiding the team to a Lancashire Cup final and a Challenge Cup semi-final.

Leigh finished seventh and repeated that league placing 12 months later, this time helping the Centurions win the Lancashire Cup in front of a crowd of 34,785 at Swinton.

These were certainly boom times for the club and March 14, 1953 brought the biggest recorded crowd at Hilton Park when 31,326 crammed in to see St Helens win 12-3, to make up for their Lancashire Cup defeat.

Sadly for Egan, injury saw him sit out the entire 1953/54 season and his absence hit hard with Leigh finishing well down the table in 13th and interest in cup competitions also finished early.

Egan tried to make a playing comeback the following season but had to retire after a further nine games, although once more the club enjoyed runs in the cup competitions, losing to Barrow in the Lancashire Cup semi-final and then getting knocked out of the Challenge Cup by Featherstone.

Egan remained with the club purely as coach and the team was once again a highly competitive unit in his final season, finishing 11th but winning the Lancashire Cup for a second time with a resounding 26-9 success over Widnes.

In total Egan played 104 games, scoring six tries and kicking a goal.

His coaching career with the club was far more noteworthy.

He was in charge at Leigh from October 1950 to April 1956 and presided over a total of 210 games.

This included 134 wins, nine draws and 67 defeats, a win ratio of 64 percent.

The club also enjoyed three of its most prolific point-scoring seasons with Egan at the helm.

Leigh Centurions have passed on their best thoughts and sincere condolences to his friends and family at this sad time.

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