Littler departs Swinton

Coach Stuart Littler has parted company with Swinton as the club battles to retain the Championship status he helped achieve as a player when the Lions won promotion from League 1 in 2015.

The 42-year-old former Salford centre’s departure came with Swinton rooted to the bottom of the table, having lost all 14 league games under his command this year before Sunday’s clash at Dewsbury Rams.

Assistant coach Allan Coleman took charge for the game at Dewsbury, and the club say the former Leigh Reserve team, Leigh Miners Rangers and England Community Lions team chief will remain at the helm for the remainder of this season, with two teams facing the drop.

“The board wishes to acknowledge that Stuart Littler has been an outstanding servant to Swinton Lions over the past six years,” the club said in a statement.

“He is a top-quality coach and a thoroughly decent human being.

“This season Stuart has had to contend with an unprecedented injury list, but we are in a results-driven business, and the board felt that the time had come for a fresh approach.

“We are sure that all Swinton fans will join us in thanking Stuart for his service, professionalism and work ethic, as we wish him nothing but the best in the future.”

Wigan-born Littler, who was appointed Ireland coach in 2018 having won 19 caps as a player, made more than 300 appearances for Salford and also turned out for Leigh and Rochdale before joining Swinton in 2015, when he scored 20 tries in 30 appearances.

John Duffy’s side won promotion through the play-offs, and after playing 25 times, scoring four tries, in 2016, Littler became assistant coach, stepping up to take the head role when Duffy moved to Featherstone in July 2017.

Working on a tight budget, he has kept Swinton in the Championship (they beat League 1 Workington in a promotion/relegation play-off in 2018) and this season, they reached the third round of the Challenge Cup before losing 32-8 at home to Warrington.

That put them into the 1895 Cup semi-finals and within a win of Wembley, but hosts York were 36-22 victors.

Littler is also the Ireland coach for this year’s Rugby League World Cup.

Swinton have been badly hit by long-term injuries, with props Lewis Hatton and Jose Kenga, centre Liam Forsyth and winger Richard Lepori all ruled out.

“It’s been a rollercoaster ride but I enjoyed it and learned loads,” said Littler.

“I’d like to think the club is left in a better place off the field due to systems, training set-ups, staff and players on the squad list.”

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