Leigh Centurions have confirmed that Kieron Purtill will join Neil Jukes’ coaching staff at the end of the current season on a two-year contract.
Purtill has worked alongside some of the game’s most highly regarded coaches since his playing career at Leigh was cruelly ended by a recurring shoulder injury in 2002.
Currently assistant coach at Huddersfield Giants, Purtill worked for St Helens initially under Ian Millward from 2002-2005, for Huddersfield Giants from 2006-2008 and then returned to Saints from 2009-2012 before returning to the Giants. After being appointed coach to Canada in 2010 he has since been a highly successful coach to the England Knights.
Jukes said: “Once I knew Kieron could be available it was a no-brainer. His involvement at some of the most respected clubs in the world would have gained him invaluable experience, working daily within some of the high-performance systems that take place.
“We are constantly trying to raise the bar off the field just as much as on it and Kieron will no doubt help us achieve that.
“Besides being good friends for a long time, his passion for his home town club to achieve, from grass roots to first grade was what made the decision easy.
“It was always an agreement with Derek (Beaumont) to increase the number of coaches back up to what it was before and again he has stayed loyal to his word.
“What was always important was that while the workload increased on myself and Ando in the short term we remained patient until we got the right people that we believed could add genuine strengths across the board.”
Leigh owner Derek Beaumont said: “Whilst there is a lot of emphasis and investment in the players we retain and recruit to the Club it is perhaps more important that I ensure I have just as much quality in the coaching and back room medical and conditioning staff.
“Adding Kieron to that team is a clear indication of our intentions to progress to become a competitive Super League club. Kieron has the passion as a home grown lad who played for the Club and arguably more importantly has acquired a vast amount of experience as a coach, assisting some very highly respected and proven coaches at some of the most successful and proven clubs.
“It was Jukesy who approached me about Kieron and his experience and ability and he was keen for him to be part of our team, despite his vast experience in the game including his role with the England Knights. Neil isn’t fazed by anything and is all about achievement and whatever it takes to do that and better people, including himself.
“Kieron is likewise in the same mind and can’t wait to get stuck in and learn whatever he can from what we are about and how we see things, so overall this will really improve us massively.”
Purtill himself said: “The overwhelming feeling I have is that I am coming back to the club I call home. Living in the town I am passionate about the lub and Derek’s drive, investment and vision made a compelling reason to come back.
“It is an exciting time for the town and my role is to put structures in place that when we get to Super League we have the same off-field standards and infrastructure that we do on the field.
“It is my aim to ensure that there is a pathway for talented local juniors to come through to the first team. For the past eight months or so I have been engaged in overseeing the coaches at Leigh Miners Rangers and developing their skills and we can further that process with them and Leigh East and the other community clubs in the surrounding area.
“Leigh is well respected already in both the professional and amateur game and we can ensure that if everyone pulls in the right direction we can see the town grow alongside the Rugby League clubs.
“I’ve known Jukesy since we played in the same Under 10s team at Ince St William’s and it will be great to be back together with him and Ando. In the meantime, I’ll be looking to finish the season as strongly as we can with Huddersfield Giants and we have aspirations in the Challenge Cup and the Super 8s that we want to fulfil.”