Widnes Vikings have appointed former Leigh Centurions coach Kieron Purtill as their new coach.
Widnes have been without a head coach since Francis Cummins left at the end of the season after the Vikings’ relegation from Super League via the Qualifiers.
After Leigh’s disastrous start to 2018, Purtill was appointed as Neil Jukes’ replacement. Although Leigh missed out on a spot in the top four, Purtill oversaw an up-turn in form that saw them fall just short of achieving their goal.
After relative success at Leigh, Purtill has been linked with the Vikings’ job for weeks and Widnes have finally got their man.
“It is a huge honour to take on this position at such an illustrious club,” said Purtill.
“To have a successful team, you need players who have honesty and a strong work ethic, coupled with talent – I know that this will certainly be the case with the squad at Widnes Vikings. It is exciting for me to have the opportunity to build upon the years of hard-work at the club and to work alongside some very skilled and passionate people.
“Whilst the Vikings are experiencing the challenges of relegation, I believe that we will see many positives come from this difficult moment. This is an opportunity to make a fresh start, with players who are more experienced for the recent challenges and motivated to put things right.
“We need to create a new chapter in the history of Widnes Vikings, with everyone – players, staff, supporters and sponsors – all working together with the intention of returning to the Super League for 2020. Clearly, we have a big challenge ahead of us, but this is something that should motivate us all.
“We are looking to work hard, do the right things – both on and off the pitch, and to give this everything that we can. There’s no doubt that we will face a lot of competition, but I relish big games and I want Widnes Vikings to be a team that are feared by others.”