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Paul Rowley in new Leigh Centurions deal
LEIGH Centurions head coach Paul Rowley has signed a contract extension that will keep him in charge until the end of 2015.
He stepped into the breach following Ian Millward’s departure to Castleford Tigers and impressed during a worrying financial time for the club before steering his side to within 80 minutes of a Grand Final appearance last season.
Rowley, named Championship coach of the year in 2012, said: “I backed myself to get the club on a solid footing and try and reshape the club on the playing side.
“Thankfully the club have recognised that I have worked really hard and I’m pleased and grateful to sign another deal for the next couple of years.
“It gives some stability to the club. We are all settled and we are all working really well. I’m pleased for myself and pleased to be a part of a really healthy playing set up.”
Since taking the top job for a third time, former Centurions hooker Rowley has been focused on the club’s future as well as its present.
“I don't think the emphasis on youth structure has ever been as strong as long as I’ve been involved at the club.” he said.
“All roads led to the first team previously whereas we see our development as an investment.
“I’ve already been planning longer term and there was only really me that wasn’t secure.
“We talk about player welfare, so I’m glad to see that staff welfare has come into it as well and we can all have peace of mind and we can continue to work hard with the knowledge that we won’t be looking for a new job at the end of the year.
“I certainly didn’t want my mind thinking about what could happen. Like everyone else I’ve got a family, a house and all the bills. It’s a job and job security is nice to have.”
Rowley’s men get on with the job at Whitehaven tonight, Thursday, after banking a 40-0 opening home success of the new campaign against Hunslet Hawks on Sunday.
“It’s a short turnaround and it’s not ideal but it's the same for them,” said Rowley.
“We know what to expect. Whitehaven have had a fantastic start to the season. They are a very capable and tough side, especially in their pack of forwards.
“It’s a small pitch and will be a good battle. Nothing has changed. You know what you get when you go up to Whitehaven, you’ve got to be pretty tough to go up there and get a victory.”
Meanwhile, Leigh have confirmed the signing of former Wigan centre John O’Donnell on a one-year contract.
Rowley said: “He didn’t see any opportunities arising down south so he’s come to us for that opportunity.
“There are no promises but he’s committed to the club and is on a contract.
“He had a good year in the 20s at Wigan and the three quarters was one area we targeted. He’s only a young lad and very much fits in with the development of players.”
The young centre made his first appearance for the club in last week’s 62-6 defeat of Halifax under 20s and grabbed a hat-trick, with other tries coming from Ryan Duffy, Andy Thornley, Mitchell Cox, Anthony Bate, Alex Davidson, Josh Ward and Aaron Lloyd, two.
Ward, seven, and Davidson, two, were the goal kickers.
l Paul Rowley