High-flying Hunslet Hawks present Leigh Centurions with tough test
HUNSLET Hawks visit Leigh Sports Village on the crest of a wave on Sunday, kick off 3pm.
That follows two opening Northern Rail Cup victories, while they meet a Leigh side lifting themselves after a late drop goal completed a big comeback by Sheffield Eagles at the weekend.
“Hunslet have two good props in Ryan Benjafield and Steve Dooler which means we’ve got to be on our mettle again as a middle unit,” Centurions boss Paul Rowley said. “We’ve got to be really tough in that area and they’ve got David March probing off the back of that.
“They are a side that won’t go away. They will be gritty and determined. They’ve had good wins against a strong Swinton side on paper on their own turf, which is also ours, and also against a strengthened Whitehaven team. There won’t be any time for mourning this week’s loss, we will be straight back on it.”
Looking back at the Sheffield game, in which Leigh built a 22-0 advantage only to be overtaken at the end, Rowley said: “Even at times in the first half, we struggled to put back-to-back sets together. It’s something we’ve done particularly well in pre-season but not done as well in the two competitive games.
“Whether we are putting too much pressure on ourselves or just coming up with the wrong options. If we had been a bit more ruthless we could have scored more than the 18 we did in the first half. That was a massive effort and the boys did really well there.
“We spoke about it before the game and we spoke about it at half time, we knew that Sheffield were an 80-minute side and that we would have to weather a storm and obviously in that last 20 minutes the storm well and truly came.
“We picked up a couple of untimely injuries we wouldn’t normally account for and that left us a bit tired in the middle without any changes left. The lads did it tough and again the effort was outstanding.
“You learn lessons and if we’ve got to learn one lesson at the weekend it is how to close down a game. We had poor finishes to our last five sets, which ultimately killed us in the end.
“I’m certainly not going to be down on my players for what they did. It’s a tough place to go at the best of times. Sheffield came up with the killer blow at the end. There are some areas where we were hard done to as well – being penalised on that last set. On reflection it was very harsh to say the least.”
While pleased to have Jimmy Taylor back in selection, Tom Spencer debuting on dual contract terms from Wigan and the continued progression of Sam Hopkins, Rowley aslo felt his outside backs contributed a lot to the contest.
“There was some great work from our outside backs. Our wingers, Stuart Littler and Matt Gardner were all very good and I think they took the challenge of what was in front of them,” he said.
Rowley will check on the fitness of several players before finalising his squad to take on the Hawks.
Centurions continue to push their attendance-growth campaign on the internet via #fetchbob on Twitter and proud Leyther Rowley also gave his thoughts.
“Leigh Centurions is what makes our town what it is,” he said.
“We represent the town and the town is famous for its rugby. Those players go out there and they represent our club and our town. For that they are role models. They are good lads and should be supported. They deserve support because they are all good men and they work hard. Come and support the lads and you will see some good rugby as well!”