MARK Sheals' homecoming might have been a low-key affair, but that suits the latest addition to Leigh Centurions' coaching staff right down to the ground.

Sheals starts to cut his coaching teeth at Hilton Park this week eager to keep out of the limelight.

"I'm simply here to look, listen and learn and then hopefully start to make a contribution," says the former Leigh favourite. "I don't want to make a song and dance," he adds.

Sheals, who announced his playing retirement last month after long service with Swinton, Oldham, Wakefield and Wales as well as Leigh, bubbles with enthusiasm when he contemplates the prospect of helping Leigh gain a foothold in Division One.

"Coaching always had an appeal for me when I eventually gave up playing;" the ex-prop revealed. "Leigh was one of the first clubs I approached when looking for an opportunity.

"It's going to be a learning process for me, but I hope that I'll be able to add some input before too long."

Initially Sheals will work alongside head coach Keith Latham and assistant Norman Turley with the senior squad, Ged Stazicker with the Alliance squad and Mick Roach (Academy).

"I haven't got a specific job title; my brief is to help out wherever I'm needed. That's exactly what I want, getting a feel of things right across the board. "I've had a couple of meetings with the coaching staff and our long-term aims appear to be the identical."

Sheals, who lives in Astley, knows just what a hot-bed of talent Leigh is.

"The number of quality kids this town produces is phenomenal. Leigh might not be able to compete with the big Super League clubs when it comes to offering big contracts, but we've got to try and improve those youngsters we have got and to try and persuade others that they can have a bright future at Hilton Park.

"Leigh have done a tremendous job in attracting the number of top kids they have. I would like to try and improve that intake and get the best out of those we've already got."

Sheals sat in for the first time for Leigh's narrow home defeat by Wakefield on Sunday and was far from downhearted despite a fourth successive setback.

"There was a tremendous amount of talent out there. They might be struggling to come to terms with the pace of Division One, but the effort and ability is certainly there to compete at that level."

And it's not just off the field that Sheals might use his experience.

Although officially retired as a player, he's not quite ready to throw away his boots just yet.

"I don't see myself playing on a regular basis but if the Alliance team, for example, is stuck, I might just turn out."

Leigh's Alliance side lost their second successive match when they went down 28-10 to 12-man Barrow at Craven Park. Leigh's points came from tries by Shaun Geritas and Drew Ashcroft with Gary Thorburn landing one goal.

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