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Leigh Centurions players go under the knife
A HOST of Leigh Centurions players face pre-season on the sidelines due to operations.
Paul Rowley admitted up to five of his key personnel face operations making them unavailable for varying degrees of time.
Simon Finnigan needs an operation in November, while there will be lengthy lay-offs for Martyn Ridyard, 20 weeks, Ryan Brierley, six weeks, Matt Gardner, 10 to 20 weeks, and Johnny Powell, 12 weeks.
“All these boys have jobs and the sacrifices they go through no way matches up to the reward,” said Rowley.
“You can’t imagine the amount of pain killers that are going about during that last month of the season. It’s a complete credit to the players. The guys have been truly remarkable this year in their efforts on and off the field.
“The word heroic gets used a lot in sport, but rugby league players are heroes and these players are our town’s heroes. They play busted week in, week out with such skill and toughness.”
The first team squad are on extended leave and return to training in November, allowing Centurions’ coaching staff to concentrate on adding names to the playing roster – one of which, Tom Armstrong, was unveiled last night.
“It will be the first of three or four announcements over the next few weeks,” Rowley confirmed.
“We’ve spoken about getting a squad of about 28. We’ve already retained a good number and are looking to add to that.
“We are not looking to replace, but to add that competition right across the park.
“We feel that our announcements will be good, if not better than those of our competitors.”
One player not returning to the field next season is Rob Parker following his retirement announcement.
"I am extremely sad but I feel the time is right for me to call it a day with my playing career,” he said.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has had such a positive effect in one way or another on my career and in my life.
"The game has given me so much, with memories and friendships that will last a life time, not to mention an amazing wife and two wonderful children and now it has given me an insight into life after rugby and helped determine which direction I would like to go.
"I am pleased to say I will be staying on at the club as the commercial manager, as this is where I can now transfer my knowledge and experience on the field to that off it.”
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