On Thursday morning, rugby league fans were left staggered by the resignation of Leigh Centurions head coach Paul Rowley.
Reporters were told by Rowley himself that personal reasons are the cause for his resignation.
After leaving the club he led to consecutive League Leaders Shield wins, a Northern Rail Cup and a Grand Final to boot, Rowley will now be well sought-after when a club next pulls the trigger.
For Leigh as a club, head of rugby Derek Beaumont has a tough decision to make in terms of replacing Rowley. Will he lean towards one of the current backroom staff in Neil Jukes, Paul Anderson or Simon Finnigan? Or maybe there’s someone out there who will catch Beaumont’s eye, potentially Brian Noble who hasn’t been in a first team coach role since his days at Salford Red Devils.
What is for sure, when the time comes for Leigh to announce their new coach, is that the person in question will have to keep all his players onside and keep a good team harmony. An unhappy dressing room doesn’t help anybody involved. There’s an array of characters in the Centurions squad who joined the club to be part of a Rowley-coached team. If the first impression of the new coach doesn’t go down well on the players, there may be trouble ahead.
Also, the Leigh fans will want somebody who plays a similar style to Rowley’s side. An entertaining, fast-paced, expansive game has been the hallmark of Leigh’s success in the past few seasons so it will be vital to keep that on board as they go forward.
With no disrespect to any of the other Championship sides, Leigh will still be heavy favourites to retain the League Leaders Shield and that won’t be a surprise to anybody. The real questions will start to be answered when the Qualifiers kicks off and whether or not the Centurions will have learnt from their mistakes of 2015.