With John Duffy’s sacking as Leigh boss, the rumour mill was sent into overdrive almost immediately. But, who could be the five potential candidates to replace him?
Having been overlooked by Hull FC at the end of 2020 after taking charge following Lee Radford’s sacking, Andy Last took Hull to within 80 minutes of what would have been just their second Grand Final appearance in the Super League era. Last had been at the KCOM Stadium since 2004, but left his 23-year playing and coaching association to become assistant coach at Wakefield. However, he would probably jump at the chance.
One perhaps out of left-field, but Sean Long is certainly going to be a coach of the future. As current assistant to Richard Agar at Leeds, Long is serving his apprenticeship well, having also had spells at Salford and St Helens as well as attacking coach at Harlequins Rugby Union. The former St Helens scrum-half has already outlined his desire to become a head coach in the not too distant future, so this could have come at just the right time.
He’s already been rumoured to be the frontrunner for the Leigh job, and Andrew Henderson is set to leave Warrington at the end of the year with incoming boss Daryl Powell wanting to put his own stamp on the club. That could influence Henderson to leave now and take up the opportunity after previously being interviewed for the Castleford job. The former Scottish international turned London around following the capital club’s relegation at the end of 2014 and could well be tasked with doing the same at Leigh.
A Leigh legend that knows what the club is all about, Mickey Higham retired from playing at the end of 2019 to join the Centurions’ coaching set-up. Now an assistant, the 40-year-old could tap into his wealth of experience as a player – he registered over 500 games during his career – to help Leigh stay in the top-flight. Plus, his rapport with the fans would be key in helping establish the bond on and off the field.
Having learnt his apprenticeship like Andrew Henderson under Steve Price at Warrington, Lee Briers could be set for a new challenge. The former Warrington halfback will be leaving anyway at the end of 2021 as Daryl Powell restructures the club, so it would make sense to perhaps move on early. His experience in big games as a player could help the Centurions with every game until the end of the season now like a final as the Lancashire club try to stay up.