Duffy grateful for Leigh rescue

Leigh hooker or half back John Duffy says he probably would have packed in the game for good had the Centurions gone under during the close season.

The future looked bleak at Leigh Sports Village following the departure of chairman and financial backer Arthur Thomas midway through last season, and failure to reach the Championship Grand Final compounded that woe.

But, thanks to the hard work of the board and fans, the club was able to stave off the threat of administration, and has built a competitive side for the 2012 season, which started with a 48-16 win over Barrow in the Northern Rail Cup on Sunday.

Duffy, 32, returned to Leigh at the end of 2009 after spending four years away from the club at Whitehaven and Widnes.

He said: “It was a bit shaky for quite a long time as a club. The directors, chief executive and chairman have done really well getting it all together, and Paul (Rowley) has done well with the new signings.

“I would have probably packed in to be honest, but I’m glad to be given the opportunity to put the shirt on again.”

Duffy starred at scrum half in the win over Barrow, with new signing Bob Beswick playing at hooker, and Castleford loanee Ryan Brierley coming in off the bench.

He added: “Bob’s brilliant. I’m very good mates with him anyway from our Widnes days and he’s a great acquisition. We’ve got a really good, strong blend of half backs and hookers in Martin Ridyard, Gregg McNally and Ryan Brierley, and we can all rotate in different positions, which is really healthy for the club.”

Leigh’s pre-season received the ultimate shot in the arm back in January when they shocked Super League side Salford, in their first game at the new Salford City Stadium.

Duffy said: “To be honest, it did surprise us (the Salford win). The squad hadn’t been together that long and it just shows what a good job the coaching staff have been doing. We played really well.”

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