Watson sad to leave Leigh

Leigh coach Paul Rowley has praised half-back Ian Watson after he left the club to join Swinton.

Former Wales international Watson, 32, will move to Swinton for a third time for the 2010 season after spending two seasons at Leigh.

However, he was helpless in keeping the Centurions in the Championship, but former Halifax hooker Rowley was quick to praise the diminutive number seven.

Rowley said: “He’s been a privilege to work with.

“I’m sure all the youngsters have learned so much. He’s left a mark on the club and he’s been one of the best signings this club has had for a long time.

“That lad has played when he’s had broken bones, when his body has been shattered but I wouldn’t like to have thought about what would have happened this past season if we hadn’t have had him in our squad.”

“You think Player of the Year and Chris Hill has been good, but then you think, Most Valuable Player and it’s been Watto by a country mile. I think he deserves a special mention.”

Watson played 52 games and scored 13 tries for the Centurions, kicking 62 goals and 4 drop goals for a total of 180 points.

Watson said: “I was disappointed in leaving Leigh because I’d fully enjoyed my time there, I’ve found that the club was a real friendly place and everyone works together there. I found it to be one of the real good clubs in Rugby League.”

“I’ve got big respect for Paul Rowley. I’ve really got on well with Rowls over the last two years. I was talking to him at the end of last year after we’d lost and I thought that he was always ready to step in and do the Head Coaching role but they went with Neil. Neil came in and tried to bring a big youth policy into the club and Neil then moved upstairs and Rowls came in again.”

“I think he offers a lot to the club. I know a lot of people in certain spots of the crowd have had little go’s at Rowls but with the things he’s done round the club; I don’t think there is anyone who emphasises the club as much as him. The intensity he brought into training.”

“I think our home form was a lot, lot better after Paul took over. He got us a lot more self belief, and worked on our professionalism which I think was real hard to do at the time because we had no gym facilities, no proper field location and it was like everything was being pulled away at the time but Rowls stuck with it.”

“I think we’ve got a fair bit of mutual respect over the last two years of working together.”

Watson, who has also played for Salford, Widnes and Halifax, links up with former Fax and Leeds stand-off Graham Holroyd at Swinton next season.

The Lions will spend another season in Championship 1 after falling at the first hurdle in this season’s play-offs – losing 31-26 in a thriller against Oldham.

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