Back-Row forward Deane Meadows has become the latest Lion to put pen to a new contract ahead of season 2022!
Deane joined us from Shevington Sharks back in the summer of 2019, but had to wait patiently to earn his Lions Heritage Number, which came in the Challenge Cup victory over Newcastle Thunder last February. He went on to make 19 appearances for Swinton in 2021, with the highlight arguably being his last minute try against Oldham at Heywood Road in August.
Deane said, “I’m made up to extend my contract for a further year with Swinton. It was an up and down season this year, but from a personal point of view the best one yet, because I was really made up to make my debut and to be playing regularly. I now can’t wait to get back into pre-season training with what is a great group of lads and staff. I’m looking to further improve next year and to make 2022 my best yet. I want to help get Swinton Lions to the top of League1 and then back into the Championship.”
Head Coach Allan Coleman added, “In my opinion Deane was the most improved player last season at Swinton and he deserves this contract so much. He works extremely hard on his game, and I am confident he will continue to progress and get the rewards he deserves.”
The latest Lion to commit to the club for season 2022 is our reigning Young Player of the Year, Louis Brogan!
After joining us from Leigh Miners Rangers, Louis made his Swinton debut in early 2020 just ahead of the pandemic. Then in the 2021 season he produced a number of excellent displays in the Lions’ forward line, demonstrating outstanding consistency and maturity for a 21 year old.
Louis said, “I’m really pleased to have re-signed at Swinton for 2022. Last season obviously didn’t go to plan, but we’ve got a great group of players and staff who are in the process of creating something exciting here. I can’t wait to get back playing and to have a great year.”
Head Coach Allan Coleman has known Louis for a good few years, and was delighted with the news. He said, “It’s great to have got Louis’s signing done. He is a very talented player with a massive future in the game. Having worked with Louis for four years I know how good this kid is. I feel we will certainly see the best of Louis Brogan in 2022.”
As we look forward to the start of pre-season training and our 2022 ambition to be successful in League 1, Head Coach Allan Coleman and the Board have been pro-active in strengthening the club’s coaching and backroom team.
Coming in as Assistant Coach will be Connor Farrell. The recently retired back-rower did of course make a few appearances for the Lions during the 2017 campaign when on dual registration from Wigan Warriors. He also later enjoyed success with Featherstone Rovers and Bradford Bulls, and has recently began carving out a career in coaching.
Swinton Head Coach Allan Coleman said, “It’s a brilliant to have Connor on board. I asked him to help me out for the last six games of the 2021 season and he was brilliant. He brings a lot to our team from his experiences at the top level, and I’m convinced he will become a big part of our coaching team.”
In response Connor added, “I am really looking forward to next season and would like to thank Swinton Lions for the opportunity. There’s a buzz around the club and I can’t wait to be an official part of it.”
Also joining the coaching team will be Thomas Wood, who is currently the Head Coach at Leigh Miners Rangers and Lancashire Under 19s, and has also coached the England Lions community team. Allan Coleman explained, “Tom is a young coach who I have worked with at Leigh Miners, Lancashire and England Lions. I have brought Tom on board because he is a very good coach with lots of knowledge of the sport. He works very hard behind the scenes and will bring a lot to the squad and our coaching team. He is a brilliant addition to our team.”
Tom said, “As well as working with Allan again, I am looking forward to the opportunity to working with a quality squad of players and staff at such an historic club as Swinton Lions. With the squad that the club is assembling, 2022 should be an exciting year for the Lions and I’m looking forward to getting stuck in.”
Tom is also an extremely capable performance analyst, and this is an area that we have further strengthened with the appointment of Daniel Bamber. Daniel is 28 years old and has previously worked in a backroom role at Warrington Wolves and Oldham. He is a real student of the game, and will bring valuable support to the coaching team.
Daniel said upon his appointment, “I am really excited to be joining Swinton Lions. From the meetings I’ve had with Steve and then Allan and the rest of the staff, everything has been really positive. With the team that we are putting together I don’t see why we can’t make a genuine push for the League 1 title in 2022.”
The recruitment of Tom and Daniel has been partly necessitated by the impending departure of Chris Wharton. “Cordial” has of course become a well-known figure at Swinton in recent seasons, in his position as performance analyst and assistant to the Head Coach. However, he will be leaving us with immediate effect in order to pursue a career elsewhere in rugby league. Cordial leaves us on very amicable terms, and as a club we wish every success in the future. Chris will always be a “Lion”, and will always be very welcome at Swinton.
We are delighted to confirm the signing of exciting young half-back Lewis Else from Widnes Vikings!
Wigan born Lewis is 21 years old and came through the junior teams at Wigan St Patrick’s, before joining the Vikings’ scholarship programme from the age of 15. He made his Widnes first team debut in 2019, and was impressive against the Lions last season.
Upon joining Swinton, Lewis said, “I’m very happy to get this deal done and to be starting the new 2022 season at Swinton Lions. I think the playing style here at the Lions will really suit me, and I think it will bring the best out of me as a player. Hopefully that also means I can help the Lions push back up to the Championship. I want to thank the Swinton staff for already making me feel very welcome. I now can’t wait to get going in 2022 and to see what it brings!”
In response Swinton Head Coach, Allan Coleman, said, “I am really happy we could get Lewis to the club. I think he is a very talented young half-back and he is definitely one to watch. I am really looking forward to seeing him lead this team around the park, as there’s no doubt that he is a very exciting player who will go far in the game. I also want to give a shout out to our Pride Builder contributors, who yet again have played a major role in bringing a good player to Swinton Lions.”
Our latest signing will no doubt prove a popular one locally, as we welcome Swintonian Jack Spencer to the Lions! Jack, who stands 6 feet 1 and turned 30 on his last birthday, has plenty of experience playing as a prop or in the second row.
We are thrilled to announce that Mike Butt has signed a new contract which will keep him at Swinton for at least another season. Mike, who joined us from university rugby league in our promotion year of 2015, is a firm favourite amongst the Lions’ faithful with his consistent and honest performances at full-back and on the wing. Season 2022 will be his 8th year with the Lions, and to date he has notched up some 133 appearances and scored 77 tries.
Upon putting pen to paper, Butty said, “I’m really excited to see what Allan can do with us next year. The lads he has signed all have the same work ethic and have one goal in mind, and that’s to get us back into the Championship. I’d also like to thank members of the Board as they have been very good to me over the years, and have made both me and my family feel very comfortable and at home at Swinton.”
Head Coach Allan Coleman was extremely pleased to secure Mike for another year. He said, “I am over the moon that we have kept Butty. Both in my time at Swinton and in my time in Rugby League in general, I don’t think I’ve met a player with more commitment than Mike Butt. His standards are up there with the best in the game and for us to keep him is a massive statement of intent. I know Butty is a fans’ favourite and rightly so, and I expect our supporters will be as delighted as myself.”
Another Lion to confirm allegiance to the club for 2022 is our popular forward Will Hope!
The Swinton-based former Folly Lane player first joined Swinton in 2018, but thanks to a terrible injury in 2019 and then Covid, his total number of appearances currently stands at 46. Will’s consistent performances across the forward line are much appreciated by team-mates and supporters alike, and everyone will be delighted that he’s staying at the Lions.
Will said, “I’m very proud to sign with Swinton again, because it’s the only place to play for me. This will be my fifth year at the Lions and I’ve enjoyed every one of them. Working under Allan, and with some exciting new additions the squad, it should be a great year ahead. I’m really looking forward to the challenge!”
Head Coach Allan Coleman added, “Will Hope is another player that we are buzzing to keep for 2022. He brings so much to our team and he leads by example. He is the local lad who plays with his heart on his sleeve.”
At Swinton Lions we were deeply saddened to hear of the sudden death yesterday of our former prop forward Steve Phythian.
A local lad, Steve came through the illustrious ranks of Folly Lane ARLFC and made his debut in the Swinton first team on 1st October 1974, almost 47 years to the day of his passing. A no nonsense prop of the old school in the cauldron of contested scrums, Steve never took a backward step throughout his playing career.
Having played 64 games and scoring two tries for the Lions, his last appearance being on 16th August 1981, Steve got “itchy feet” and asked for a transfer. Reluctantly, I asked him to put the request in writing which he did….on toilet paper! All life is here. Steve transferred to Whitehaven where he really came into his own, becoming both a ‘marra’ and a legend at the Recreation Ground. Steve would play 85 times for the Cumbrian club between seasons 1981/82 and 1984/85, scoring another two tries.
Aussie captain Wally Lewis is of course an icon throughout our game’s heritage, even though in one memorable match Steve rearranged Wally’s front teeth! Wally and Steve shared a beer or three in recent times when Wally showed off his new dentures! Steve then had a spell playing in Australia, came home to become a rugby league referee in the North West Counties amateur league, and also found time to coach local side Swinton Victoria.
A rugby league man to the very core. Steve touched many lives in his career, inclusive of the health and wellbeing of others thanks to his business acumen. Steve Phythian epitomised friendship, humour and loyalty, and it has been our privilege to have shared a small part of his life. RIP Steve Phythian.
(With thanks to Steve Moyse)
At Swinton Lions we are delighted to announce the signing of Dan Abram, who will be joining us ahead of the 2022 season from Oldham. Dan, who will be 26 next month, originally came through the system at St Helens, and has played for a number of clubs including Barrow, Whitehaven and Rochdale. An accomplished goal-kicker, Dan has played most of his career at full-back and on the wing, but he can also operate in the halves. Dan is the son of Darren Abram, who played briefly for the Lions in the late 1980s.
Ahead of his arrival at the Lions, Dan said, “I’m really excited and looking forward to coming on board at Swinton. I’m ready for the challenge of getting the Lions back into the Championship, and I can’t wait to get stuck in with the lads.”
Swinton Lions Head Coach, Allan Coleman, added, “It’s great to have Dan on board, partly because every time he played against us he was a constant thorn in our side! Dan has great vision and a brilliant skill set and can play in a number of different back positions. I’m really happy to get him in a Swinton shirt.”