Leigh owner Derek Beaumont has insisted he will use the extra money available to clubs on the salary cap next year – as well as revealing his plans to reintroduce Academy and reserve rugby at the Centurions.
Super League clubs will be able to spend an extra £75,000 on the cap next year as part of the incremental increases taking place over the next three years – something Beaumont will take advantage of if Leigh are in the top flight.
“I’ll certainly be using that extra room,” he told League Express. “Obviously recruitment is a whole lot easier if we make that top eight, though.”
But it is Beaumont’s plans below first-team level which are most noteworthy. Leigh ran without reserve and Academy sides in 2016 as they invested their money into gaining promotion.
And Beaumont has said that from next year, those concepts will begin to return to the Leigh Sports Village.
“You’ve got to grow your club over time,” he said. “If you go straight at something quick and don’t have the right structures in place, it’ll go wrong.
“We’ve got great people we’re looking at getting involved. Guys like Micky HIgham will be huge with an Academy, as will people like Anthony Murray.
“Next year we’ll have a Category 3 Academy and a reserve side. Then when the next round of funding comes around from the RFL, we’ll push on again.”
Beaumont also intends to involve former England Knights coach and current member of his backroom staff, Kieron Purtill, heavily in his plans.
“One of the big things in getting Kieron here was that he’s experienced heavily when it comes to stuff like the Knights,” he said.
“He’s very knowledgable with all that. We’ll push to get a Category 1 Academy as soon as possible because we know that it’s important long-term to have kids coming through and tie them down to long deals rather than go out shopping all the time: there’s more longevity that way.”
Beaumont also revealed that Leigh are in discussions with Salford about a joint-reserve venture for 2018 – and said that the changes to the cap at first-team level will benefit him.
“We have ambition to do some very good things here at Leigh.
“What these changes enable us to do are things like sliding contracts – if the right people become available, we won’t hesitate to look at bringing them in.”