'Find a way for youth'

THE show goes on for Leigh Centurions’ development plans after further changes to RFL Academy structures were announced to Championship teams, including the abolition of the under 23s competition.

This announcement, in the second week of December ahead of a February start, could not have come at a worse time for Centurions, with the club having recently revealed their coaching team to carry the future forward on the back of an ambitious junior Jets Programme.

“They are basically saying that their ideal would be that Championship clubs have an under 20s and a first team,” explained head coach Paul Rowley.

“That’s not a route that we want to go down “We feel that we’ve got too much of a good resource not to utilise it.

“We want our players to have a pathway through to our first team. So we will continue with our programme, an 18s and a 20s as well.”

He added: “We recognise the importance of continuing the good work that our community clubs do and offering identified players an environment that takes them out of their comfort zone a little bit.

“We are not going to waste that by not monitoring or keeping a close relationship with those players and clubs.”

Despite this, Centurions are currently working with the RFL.

“We are seeing if we can get some like-minded clubs, ambitious clubs, to maybe run a series of friendlies,” Rowley said.

“If not, we’ll find some way to ensure that these lads get some competition under their belts.

“The RFL do talk about strategy and planning and all that we can do is concern ourselves with what we do.

“We can be a shining light, a leader and hopefully we can be a club that others aspire to be like.

“We feel that we have local relationships that are pretty unique in rugby league, they are the strongest they have ever been and are mutually respected.

“We want to continue and develop it further.”

Meanwhile, groundsman Keith Porter and his staff have earned an accolade.

Rowley said: “We have won the pitch of the year award.

“Of all the Super League and Championship Rugby League grounds, we have the best playing surface of the lot of them. Keith and his team have won that prestigious award.

“It shows that if stadia are a factor in getting to Super League, the best one in rugby league is right here in Leigh! I think it’s fantastic. We are proud of our groundsman and it’s great for them to be recognised.

“We just keep ticking boxes, after boxes, after boxes.

“In fact, we’ve got that many boxes ticked, I can’t move for them!”

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