2nd November 2018, 13:00 | Widnes
Widnes Vikings are delighted to announce the appointment of Kieron Purtill as the club’s new Head Coach.
Purtill has previously held the Head Coach position with Leigh Centurions and England Knights, as well as Assistant Coach roles at St Helens and Huddersfield Giants. With a 16-year career in top-flight coaching, Purtill will bring extensive experience to the role, having led or assisted at Super League, Championship and international levels.
In the 2018 Betfred Championship season, Purtill oversaw a remarkable transformation in form for Leigh Centurions in challenging circumstances, taking on the Head Coach mantel in the early-stages of the season. Winning 15 of the 19 games that he oversaw during the regular season and finishing the year as finalists for the 2018 Betfred Championship Shield, he impressed with his ability to galvanise a squad and to maximise the abilities and belief of his players.
Having overseen England Knights, including taking the team to victory in the 2012 European Cup, Purtill also brings extensive experience of supporting and working with talented young players.
Kieron Purtill says: “It is a huge honour to take on this position at such an illustrious club. To have a successful team, you need players who have honesty and a strong work ethic, coupled with talent – I know that this will certainly be the case with the squad at Widnes Vikings. It is exciting for me to have the opportunity to build upon the years of hard-work at the club and to work alongside some very skilled and passionate people.
“Whilst the Vikings are experiencing the challenges of relegation, I believe that we will see many positives come from this difficult moment. This is an opportunity to make a fresh start, with players who are more experienced for the recent challenges and motivated to put things right.
“We need to create a new chapter in the history of Widnes Vikings, with everyone - players, staff, supporters and sponsors - all working together with the intention of returning to the Super League for 2020. Clearly, we have a big challenge ahead of us, but this is something that should motivate us all.
“We are looking to work hard, do the right things - both on and off the pitch, and to give this everything that we can. There’s no doubt that we will face a lot of competition, but I relish big games and I want Widnes Vikings to be a team that are feared by others.
“Widnes Vikings are a proud club, and everyone playing for the club will understand what the team means to its community. I personally know that I am following in the footsteps of some great people and I have tremendous respect for the heritage of this club. I am looking forward to working with the players, staff and partners of the club to help create an exciting future.”
James Rule, CEO of Widnes Vikings, says: “We are delighted to appoint Kieron as our new Head Coach. Kieron has shown a real determination to build a successful career in coaching, and I have been impressed by his excitement at the prospect of helping to lead this club back to Super League. We have been looking for a coach who believes in himself, our squad and our mission for this season ahead, and offers both the technical and man-management abilities to be successful in this role, and we believe that Kieron fits the bill.
“At Leigh Centurions, Kieron demonstrated a real ability to deliver results in the Championship. He has spent his entire life in rugby league and has developed his craft by working with many outstanding coaches and players. As someone who has also successfully supported the progress of talented young players, including with England Knights, we are also excited by his potential to further support the pathway between our first team and academy systems.
“We are looking forward to Kieron beginning his career at the Vikings next week, working alongside Phil Finney to develop and lead our squad.”
Phil Finney, Performance Director at Widnes Vikings, says “I have had a number of meetings with Kieron to discuss his coaching philosophies, experiences in the game and future aspirations.
“I believe that his experience, knowledge and character make him the right fit for our club and our players. Now that we have made this appointment, we are all looking forward to beginning what will be a very important pre-season.”
Picture courtesy of RLPIX.com