Leigh Leopards have confirmed the appointment of Stuart Littler as head coach of the Reserves side for the 2024 season.
Littler, 45 next month, has extensive coaching experience since completing an outstanding 19-year playing career. He was appointed assistant and then head coach to Swinton Lions, then head coach at Oldham combining a similar role with the Ireland international team.
Littler will form an impressive coaching link up with Kieron Purtill whose role as Head of Youth has been vital in establishing a clear pathway for the development of aspiring players.
As a strong running, forceful and creative centre with a fine defensive game, Littler enjoyed a long and successful playing career, chalking up 520 senior appearances and scoring 187 tries. He earned Leigh Heritage Number HN#1342, scoring 32 tries in 101 games between 2011 and 2014 for his hometown club and called time on his playing career after two seasons with Swinton.
After making his professional debut for Salford in 1998, he went on to make 329 appearances for the Red Devils, scoring 113 tries. He also won 21 international caps for Ireland between 2004-2016 before becoming their head coach between 2018-2022.
Leigh Leopards women’s team on the up
Leigh Leopards are also growing the club with their women’s side. Head coach Kieron Purtill has named a 30-player strong squad which will again be captained by Mairead Quinn.
The Leopards Women enjoyed a fine inaugural season in 2023, and just missed out on a place in Super League. After Barrow Raiders won the promotion grand final at York, the Leopards will compete in tier two of the Women’s Championship, The Northern Women’s Championship.
Nine teams made up the Northern Championship with only the Leopards and Salford Red Devils from this side of the Pennines. Bradford Bulls, Castleford Tigers, Dewsbury Moor, Hull KR, Oulton Raidettes, Sheffield Eagles and Stanningley make up the Yorkshire challenge.
The Championship season starts on the first weekend of March. Full fixtures and venues will be announced shortly.
The end of season play-offs start after Round 18 of the Championship season.
In Week One the top four teams play off (1v4 and 2v3) with the winners competing in the Northern Championship Grand Final in Week 2.
In Week 3 the Grand Final winners of the Northern Championship play the Grand Final winners of the Southern Championship. This game will be played on Saturday 28 September for the national champion title.
Week 4 concludes the season with the national champions from Week 3 playing the bottom team in Super League for a place in Super League in 2025.
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