John Duffy has become the first coaching casualty of Super League in 2021 after he parted company with bottom club Leigh Centurions.
Duffy, a former captain of the club, was appointed as coach in November 2018 and found himself in charge of a Super League club when the Centurions were fast-tracked from the Championship last December, filling the vacancy caused by the loss of Toronto Wolfpack.
The Centurions, who were left with little time to strengthen their squad, have lost all eight league matches so far and also went out of the Challenge Cup at the first hurdle.
🔴⚪️ Club Statement: John Duffy leaves Leigh Centurions by mutual consent
👇 Read below…#Leythers
— Leigh Centurions (@LeighCenturions) June 2, 2021
Leigh owner Derek Beaumont said: “I would like to thank John for his dedication, commitment and outstanding work ethic he has shown during his time with the club.
“It has been a really difficult time as he massively cares about the club, the fans, the town of Leigh and me and my wife personally.
“In the end John wants the same as me, the best for the club, not himself and therefore it wasn’t a difficult conversation that we had. Something needed to change, and we both recognised that.
“I hope the fans can respect the difficult task John faced and made a fist of for them and, also, remember his fine contribution as a player.
“He is Leigh through and through and can certainly hold his head high in my box anytime he feels like it.
“As a sport we talk of mental health but perhaps we need to look at some of the things we do as a sport and the impact that has on people’s mental health.”
Duffy said: “I am gutted that my time is up.
“I had a good chat with Derek and we agreed that something needed to change.
“It’s a tough one for me as I love the club and the fans but I realise there have to be changes and that’s the way it goes.
“I started my coaching job at Leigh with nothing and we got to Super League. I always knew it was going to be a tough challenge and I’d like to wish the players all the best for the season.
“The fans have been great for me. I know they weren’t allowed to be inside the grounds for a while but when they can they follow us around everywhere.
“I’d like to thank Derek Beaumont and Mike Latham in particular for all the help and support they have given me and everyone who has helped me over the last few years.
“There are not many who can say that they coached the club they loved and I am grateful I was given the opportunity.”
Duffy’s assistant Kurt Haggerty will take over the head coaching role in the short term, supported by the rest of the coaching staff, while applications for the post on a permanent basis are considered.
Leigh have also parted company with head of rugby Garreth Carvell with immediate effect.
Carvell, the former England, Warrington and Hull forward, only joined the club in January but has left by mutual agreement.