St Helens and Leigh to dual-reg in 2019

St Helens and Leigh Centurions have confirmed they will enter a dual-registration next season, after the two clubs forged close links through the appointment of Keiron Cunningham as Leigh’s director of rugby, who left last August.

Kieron Cunningham’s son Jonah and prop Greg Richards were among the players to have spent time with Leigh in 2018, but the two clubs have now entered a formal partnership, which St Helens previously had with Sheffield Eagles last season.

The Centurions had a frantic off-season, after an exodus of players left them in need of some major recruitment, but they seemingly turned around their fortunes for 2019 with the signings of the likes of Martyn Ridyard from Featherstone, Iain Thornley from Catalans, Stefan Marsh from Widnes and Greg McNally from Bradford Bulls, among others.

“We’re grateful to both John Duffy and the Centurions for entering into an agreement which will be beneficial for both clubs,” Saints Chief Executive Mike Rush said. “There have always been strong ties between the two clubs and there are strong friendships between key members of both organisations.

“In reaching this decision, we considered the close proximity between the two clubs, the fine facilities that Leigh have and the excellent relationship and regard we hold for John Duffy, Paul Anderson and the other Leigh staff and officials.

“Over the course of the season some members of our first team squad will need more game time for various reasons and this partnership will allow them to get that, playing at a good level in the Championship and in the right environment. We look forward to watching our players develop from this agreement.”

Leigh Centurions head coach John Duffy added: “The opportunity to be able to partner a club like Saints is extremely beneficial for us, especially when you consider the calibre of player we will get each week. We were on the back foot with starting our squad recruitment late and are down on numbers so we will now augment that with quality players and quality people.

“We had a good meeting at Saints with Mike and Justin and also Paul Wellens and Ian Talbot from the coaching staff. They have trust in us that their players will get treated and coached in the right way and they acknowledge that their players have got to earn the right to play for Leigh Centurions with their performances in training and matches.

“It’s a great partnership for Leigh Centurions and I’m sure will be extremely beneficial also for Saints. I’m confident the relationship between the two clubs will continue to flourish.”

Meanwhile, the Centurions have announced their 2019 squad numbers, as follows:
1 Gregg McNally
2 Jonny Pownall
3 Iain Thornley
4 Jack Higginson
5 Stefan Marsh
6 Martyn Ridyard
7 Josh Woods
8 Tom Spencer
9 Micky Higham (c)
10 Sam Brooks
11 Toby Adamson
12 Andy Thornley
13 Luke Adamson
14 Oliver Russell
15 Joe Cator
16 Andy Bracek
17 Nick Gregson
18 Dec O’Donnell
19 Mitch Cox
20 Ben Sims
21 Brad Holroyd