RFL boss Ralph Rimmer has hailed increased attendances across the Betfred Championship and League One in 2019.

But Leigh was one of just two clubs in the game’s second tier to report a slight fall on the number of fans going through the turnstiles from the previous season.

Rimmer was speaking prior to the Championship and League One awards night in Manchester on Tuesday where 2019 ever present Centurion, Joe Cator, just missed out on collecting the young player of the year accolade.

“The significant increases in attendances, especially in the Betfred Championship, underline the loyal support our clubs continue to receive from the communities in which they are so important, and the growing appeal of the competition,” said Rimmer.

“It’s been especially pleasing this season to have so many more matches at this level televised by Sky Sports.

“The viewing figures have been encouraging, especially for Sunday night fixtures whether at the Summer Bash in the spring, or for the Play-Offs at Leigh and Toronto in the last couple of weeks.”

The aggregate Championship attendance for the season is now 474,735, including play-offs.

The aggregate figure at the end of the regular season was 455,439 - a 79 per cent increase on the 2018 total.

That figure came from significantly more fixtures (189 compared to 138) but the average match attendance was up by 31 per cent, at 2,489 compared to 1,899.

Twelve of the 14 clubs recorded increases in their average home attendance.

Leigh’s 13 Championship games were watched by 42,136 for an average of 3,241.

All matches - 17 in total -were watched by 52,119 for an average of 3,065. The highest home attendance was 4,640 for Centurions’ AB Sundecks 1895 Cup semi-final against Widnes.

However, in 2018, Leigh’s 11 Championship games at LSV attracted a total attendance of 38,924 at an average of 3,538. In total 17 home games attracted 55,235 fans at an average of 3,249.

The combined attendance for Championship and League 1 in 20198 increased by 9.9 per cent, from 500,078 in 2018 to 549,495 this season.

Cator was nominated for Championship young player along with Swinton’s Matty Ashton and Keanan Brand of Widnes.

He played in all Leigh’s 33 league and cup matches, one more than Iain Thornley who scored 16 tries.

Gregg McNally finished top try scorer with 17 from 25 appearances while Martyn Ridyard was leading points scorer with 211.