Challenge Cup win can spur on Leigh Centurions
BUOYED by a Challenge Cup success in London, Leigh Centurions are aiming for their first Championship win of the season at home to York City Knights on Friday.
Leigh, who have earned a fifth-round Challenge Cup home clash against Championship One side Rochdale Hornets, face a Knights outfit also seeking their first league victory of the year.
Head coach Paul Rowley has pinpointed a couple of areas in which they are strong and Leigh must be wary of.
He highlighted former Super League half backs Jordan Tansey and Chris Thorman, who is also head coach, and added: “There is no shortage of talent.
“They have a big threat at dummy half in Jack Lee. They are big, powerful and quite strong across the pitch.
“It’s another test but one we are looking forward to. We want to have a proud home record and be hard to beat at our own ground.”
Leigh, who have welcomed former New Zealand international centre Richie Blackmore into his general manager’s role this week, did not pick up any additional injuries in the 17-point cup win at London Skolars on Saturday although Tommy Goulden is ‘still looking doubtful’ for this week, while Dean McGilvray is no nearer to a return.
With Wigan also playing on Friday, Leigh will not have the option of calling on dual registered Matt Russell or Tom Spencer, but they could have Warrington back rower James Laithwaite in their ranks after signing up on dual registration forms this week.
Some of the young players pressed their claims in the capital.
“We did really well with lots of youngsters in the team. Jonny Pownall made his return and that was only his second start,” said Rowley.
“Craig Briscoe was really good and he's only 19. Our youngsters are doing really well and progressing nicely.
“It was a tricky tie and they fancied their chances against us so to come through it is good. We got in the bag for the next round and got a home draw out of it.”
There continues to be room for improvement.
“We still keep coming up with little errors and they cost us but that is part of maturing and progressing as a player,” said Rowley.
“You have to look at our situation. We have lost last season’s top try scorer, top goal kicker, our player-of-the-year, plus Robbie Hunter-Paul, Steve Nash, David Mills, Adam Higson and we are replacing them with our future players.
“We do have to have a bit of patience as a club. Our experienced players are doing a fantastic job in mentoring. There are good signs.”
Centurions’ cup clash with Rochdale is expected to take place at Leigh Sports Village on April 15.
Rowley said: “It will be a good test, they are not a bad side. They will be one of the teams hoping for promotion to the Championship.
“We are very enthusiastic and focused on getting through to the next round.”
The club have started the Leigh Centurions Players Association after being unable to patch their differences with the Past Players Association.
The first function of the new association is a Paul Terzis night at LSV on Saturday when former staff and players will meet with the popular Australian for the first time in almost 10 years.