Leigh Centurions have confirmed that Paul Cooke has joined Neil Jukes’ coaching team with immediate effect on a contract until the end of November 2017.
Cooke, who has most recently been working as skills and backs coach at rugby union side Doncaster Knights, will join the Centurions with immediate effect, returning to Rugby League after a star-studded career as a player.
Cooke played for both Hull clubs and also Wakefield during his playing career, racking up almost 300 appearances in the top flight.
He said: “Firstly I’d like to thank Clive Griffiths for the last three years guidance under his expert stewardship at Doncaster Knights.
“I have learned some valuable lessons in coaching and managing professional players from in my opinion one of the best coaches around in ether code of rugby.
“His passion, commitment, energy and meticulous planning, year on year, has been a real lesson in the success and building of his dynasty.
“Right now I feel the time is right to make the move back into Rugby League. As everyone knows I have been involved in Rugby League all of my career and I feel this opportunity to join Leigh Centurions as an assistant coach and help the push towards the Super League is an opportunity I feel at this time is just too good for me to turn down.
“Upon my meeting with Derek Beaumont and Neil Jukes I left with a real sense of purpose and drive from the top within this club. Finances only speak so much, but the passion and commitment of the two people spearheading the club towards a very realistic goal is something I deeply admire.
“The players at this club are skilful, athletic, strong and I’m sure driven to succeed. I want to be a part of that journey, help with my knowledge and understanding of the game and in succeeding in this game.
Leigh Centurions owner Derek Beaumont said: “I am delighted to add Paul Cooke to our coaching team. It is a measure of where this Club is heading that Paul has the belief in us to move from a career he had started in rugby union where he was already achieving significant results.
“Paul is a quality individual, which is important to us here and what he has achieved in the game speaks for itself. He is an extremely clever, experienced and knowledgeable person when it comes to Rugby League and that will be a huge asset to Jukesy and Ando who have worked extra hard whilst short on numbers.
Leigh coach Jukes said: “I have never doubted Paul’s coaching ability or knowledge of the game.
“I’m looking forward to him bringing those ‘smarts’ to our team. He has a lot of expertise around the pivots, not just the plays but how they are executed. As a player Paul was one of the best at doing that and I want his influence to pervade all the players at our club.”