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Salford have appointed former Toronto Wolfpack and Leigh boss Paul Rowley as their new head coach and made prolific half-back Marc Sneyd his first signing.
The 46-year-old ex-England hooker, who oversaw Toronto’s introduction into the game in 2017, joined the Red Devils in 2019 initially as a consultant coach and for the last 12 months has performed the role of head of development.
Rowley succeeds Richard Marshall, who lasted just 12 months in the job, and will be assisted by another ex-Toronto coach Kurt Haggerty, who was interim head coach of Leigh for much of the 2021 season, and existing assistant Danny Orr.
✍️ New head coach Paul Rowley will be joined by assistant coaches Danny Orr and Kurt Haggerty!
𝗥𝗘𝗔𝗗 👉 https://t.co/LucEkrs6RA
— Salford Red Devils 👹 (@SalfordDevils) November 5, 2021
Salford unveiled their new coaching team at a press conference at the AJ Bell Stadium, where they sprung a surprise by announcing the capture of Sneyd, 30, on a three-year contract.
Hull agreed to release Sneyd from the last year of his contract and are now expected to sign former Castleford scrum-half Luke Gale from Leeds as a straight replacement.
It is something of a return home for Sneyd, who came through the juniors at Salford and spent four seasons in the first team before moving on to Castleford, for whom he played in the 2014 Challenge Cup final, and then Hull.
Sneyd made 176 appearances in seven seasons for the Black and Whites and kicked 655 goals, putting him third in the club’s all-time list, and won the Lance Todd Trophy in their Challenge Cup final victories of 2016 and 2017.
Hull coach Brett Hodgson said: “Marc has been a fantastic servant to this club, playing a key role in the recent success and will look back on his time with the club fondly.
“As a club, we understand the attraction of long-term security and the chance to return home closer to family.
“Change brings opportunity and the timing has probably worked out well for all parties. We’re excited about the opportunity it presents the club as we continue to reshape our squad for the 2022 season.”
Sneyd, who was born in Oldham, says he made the move for personal reasons.
“It’s been a manic week,” he said. “It genuinely came out of nowhere. I got a call while I was on holiday last week and it was 100mph from then.
“Hull were incredible throughout and understood my reasons for wanting to move back to Oldham and to come back here to Salford. I’m absolutely chuffed to bits.
The club would like to wish Marc and his family all the best on their return closer to home, and thank him for his memorable contribution over the course of the last seven years.
— Hull FC (@hullfcofficial) November 5, 2021
“I was at Hull for six years and absolutely loved every minute of it but we were ready to come back to family.
“I think it’s pretty exciting at the minute around Salford. I think they’ve made some outstanding signings and the squad looks like it’s got the potential to do things.”
Rowley says he has yet to decide on a new captain following Lee Mossop’s retirement but admits Sneyd will be a serious candidate.
“I expect him to have a big influence on the group,” he said. “He’s been at a great club coming to us with plenty of mileage left.
“He’s got probably the best kicking game in the league.
“We want to go back and perform at Wembley and on any big stage and he’s done that more than once. He fits the bill and can be a real leader. I slept a lot easier last night knowing that deal dropped.”
Rowley, who has signed a two-year contract, is not setting any bold targets but says his overall mission will be to raise standards on and off the field after a disappointing season in 2021.
The former Halifax, Huddersfield and Leigh player began coaching in 2012 and, after taking both Leigh and Toronto to the brink of Super League, is looking forward to operating in the top flight.
“I’ve had a good break,” he said. “I am totally enthused and excited. I just want to get on the field and get started.
“I love the Championship – I think it’s a great competition – but the Super League is the pinnacle.”