Leigh and Sheffield partner up

Leigh Centurions have entered a dual registration partnership agreement with Sheffield Eagles for the 2017 season.

Leigh Centurions Head Coach Neil Jukes said: “After meeting Mark Aston it become quite clear that flexible access for our players to play games at a high standard this year, as well as genuinely contributing to Sheffield Eagles, was a perfect fit for both clubs, especially after our decision to delay reserve grade rugby for one more year.

“Besides the invaluable positives the players get from solid minutes on the field, it is also vitally important they continue to develop and improve and through Mark and his coaching staff I know this will happen.

“We know first-hand how a dual agreement works and after long discussions with Mark it was clear that we were both on the same page so it made sense to give it a go for the 2017 season.

“We look forward to working with Mark and his team and hope we can assist in helping them reach their goals.”

Leigh Centurions owner Derek Beaumont said: “Given we don’t have a reserves until 2018 and the issues that caused us in 2016 making it difficult to find a competitive game every week for the squad, which is our primary concern, we were keen to try and find a suitable partner with whom to dual.

“Last year our only solution was to have players not playing or risk losing them on a traditional loan for four weeks, which is always risky.

“The dual registration issue is widely discussed and I have always been one to prefer having the equivalent of an A team, but when that isn’t an option you have to work within the available parameters.

“When I got back involved with the club we were partnering Wigan which at the time was vital to the club’s ability to establish a position of strength to go it alone.

“When Neil suggested Sheffield and had a positive meeting with Mark Aston, whom I highly respect in the game, I had no hesitation in agreeing to the move.

“Sheffield have come across some unfortunate circumstances and sometimes in the best interests of your club you have to take a step back to put yourself in the position of marching forward.

“I have no doubt that our players, when available, will offer a positive contribution to Sheffield and this in turn will be positive for our club in keeping players match ready.

“Ultimately I hope Sheffield can return themselves to their former glory and I am sure at that point they will want to go it alone, as we did, which we will understand.

“However, at the moment it’s about what’s happening now, as that’s in your control and this is a mutually positive and exciting relationship.”

Sheffield Eagles Head Coach Mark Aston said: “We’d like to thank Neil and Derek at Leigh for agreeing to dual registration with Sheffield Eagles, we are indebted to them and it will greatly assist us this season.

“We have never used dual registration before and my opinions on it, which are well documented, don’t change.

“However, after a very tough six months we haven’t got a massive squad and this agreement will add some quality players to our team.

“The players will be available for training with us through the week, allowing us to be much more prepared for matches than if they were only available for game days, which is a huge bonus for us.”

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