Centurions Sign Andy Thornley

Leigh Centurions are pleased to confirm the signing of Andy Thornley who returns to LSV for a second spell following his time with Swinton Lions.

The 29-year-old forward made 73 appearances for Leigh between 2011 and 2014 and played a major role in the Northern Rail Cup Final winning teams of 2011 and 2013.

Thornley says that the opportunity to play alongside younger brother Iain and under head coach John Duffy was too good an opportunity to miss.

“I’m chuffed to bits to be coming back to Leigh,” Thornley says. “Duffs rang me to see if I’d be interested and I jumped at the chance. When I left Leigh I was going through a bit of a rough patch personally and Duffs took me on board, empowered me as a senior player and I felt like I went from strength to strength playing under him at Swinton. He built up a good squad there on slender resources and going with him to Leigh was a no-brainer.

“As a club Leigh have always set high standards and with my brother signing as well it will be special to be back at the club.”

Thornley’s family are steeped in rugby league and his parents have been heavily involved in the Ashton Bears community club where Duffy first learnt his rugby. But while Duffy went to Warrington as a teenager the Thornley brothers came through the Wigan system.

“Ashton Bears still plays a big part in our lives,” he says. “It’s a close-knit club and family orientated. My niece and nephew both play for the club now and so it’s great to see the next generation of the Thornley clan coming through.”

“Playing at Wigan in the under-18s and 21s I played under Shaun Wane and he progressed as a coach while we progressed as players. The things we learned under him are still as fresh today. Shaun bred a culture of toughness and a winning mentality and he always expected the best.”

Thornley moved on to Salford and Whitehaven before joining Leigh first time around and his experience of over 200 career games has given him a great knowledge of the Championship.

“The Championship is a great competition and I’d say its standards are getting closer to Super League,” he says. “Defensively it’s probably tougher and the speed of the play is improving all the time. You could tell that by the Eights last season.”

Early indications of being back at Leigh are wholly positive. “All the lads are buzzing and ready to go,” he says. “The club is definitely turning the corner and you find the best from people when you fight your way through adversity like Leigh have done.

“My previous time at Leigh was awesome so it’s great to be back. Those two cup final wins were special moments for me. The fans are so passionate and noisy week in week out and it will be great to play in front of them again.

“I played under a top Super League coach in Ian Millward and in my eyes Duffs is a Super League coach in the making. I’ve no doubt he will get his opportunity one day. His man management skills are excellent and he’s always up front with players which is what you want.

“And technically he’s switched on, down to every single, minute detail.”

Leigh Centurions head coach John Duffy said: “When I played with Andy at Leigh you’d get the stats of the game on the Monday. You wouldn’t have heard his name on the commentary but then you’d see he’d made 45 tackles with one miss and made 15 hit-ups. That was him every week.

“Andy has a massive engine and often goes under the radar. He told me he has unfinished business at Leigh that he wants to put to bed.

“Andy is another one who loves Leigh. Every time he puts a shirt on he leads with his actions. He’ll always put his hand up and stand up to be counted. He’s a great signing for Leigh Centurions and I’m delighted to have him on board.”

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