Leigh Centurions are delighted to confirm the appointment of Kurt Haggerty to John Duffy’s backroom staff as the club looks forward to the 2021 Betfred Super League season.
Haggerty, 32 this week, is a former Leigh player (HN#1321) who has built a fine reputation in the coaching ranks since retiring as a player in 2016 following a season at Bradford Bulls.
He has been a member of Toronto Wolfpack’s coaching staff during their time in the professional ranks and served a long apprenticeship in the community game as head coach of National Conference side Pilkington Recs, steering them to three promotions during his time at the club.
Leigh Centurions head coach John Duffy said: “Kurt knows the club inside out and has been on a pathway in his coaching career through the amateur and professional ranks. He is very intelligent, diligent and cares for the club and the people involved in it.
“He is a great addition for us as we look forward to the season ahead. Kurt took the decision to retire early as a player to become a coach and he has already had a great grounding with his long association at Toronto and his time in the community game.
“Kurt was a clever footballer, a brilliant player in my opinion, who was ahead of the coaching at the time with the way he played the game. I’m looking forward to working with him.”
Kurt Haggerty said: “Leigh is a club that I always seem drawn to. I played here as a 19-year-old kid and came back in 2014-15 and enjoyed some good times here.
“There’s a special feel to Leigh and I’m really looking forward to the challenges ahead as we look to cement our place in Super League.
“Duffs has a great personality and is a very motivational coach with great technical skills. I didn’t know him that well before I came for my interview, but we are very similar in our outlook on the game and we hit it off straight away.
“The Club did brilliantly to win the Super League bid and by all accounts the document that Derek Beaumont and his fellow directors put together was fantastic. You look at the quality of the recruitment on and off the field and you know how determined Derek is to ensure the club becomes established in Super League.
“We are under no illusions about how hard it will be and know we will have bad weeks as well as good, but we know we have a great opportunity and everyone here is on the same page, wanting the club to do well.”
Haggerty served as both offensive and defensive coach during his time at Toronto and feels his experiences with the Wolfpack have prepared him well. ‘I was very lucky to work with some very good, experienced coaches and over four years at Wolfpack saw just about everything,’ he said. ‘We went from ground floor to ceiling, had some great experiences and I worked with some great players.
‘At times, as a young coach, it was quite a nerve-wracking and humble experience to work with some top quality, international players, but I learned quickly that you can’t go into your shell. You have to back yourself. I was never a fantastic player myself, but I worked hard to prove myself and get my point across.
“Rugby League is still a simple game but there are a lot of cogs to coaching. As a player, I tried to put my own stamp on the game and tried to do something different.
“I’ve always studied the game and am learning all the time. It’s really good to be back.”
The son of the late former St Helens and GB international forward Roy Haggerty and younger brother of Gareth, who played Super League for Widnes, Salford and Harlequins, Kurt Haggerty joined Leigh on a season long loan from Barrow in 2014 and was a member of the Grand Final-winning team against Featherstone Rovers in 2014 before enjoying another successful year in 2015.
He originally played for Leigh’s Academy, captain in 2006, playing centre, standoff, second row and loose forward over the course of the season. He later had a brief loan spell at Carcassonne and made ten senior appearances with Leigh in the 2009 season before becoming a regular in the Widnes side and enjoying an outstanding season at Barrow in 2013, scoring nine tries and kicking 58 goals in 26 games in a season in which he also represented Ireland in the World Cup. He scored 15 tries in 55 Leigh games.