LIAM Hood’s “disappointment” over Centurions’ decision not to play again in this season is tempered by determination to focus immediately on next year’s target-Super League promotion.

Owner Derek Beaumont pulled the plug on Leigh’s participation after a change in dates for the autumn invitational tournament which is now expected to be scrapped.

Instead of starting in early October, the proposed competition schedule for Centurions, Bradford, Batley, Dewsbury and Barrow moved to November with a December finish.

With speculation a new Championship campaign may kick-off earlier than its annual February date, Leigh decided in the best interests of player welfare and to ensure a full pre- season with a revitalised and strengthened squad, to withdraw their request to play.

“We all got excited when we saw competition was going ahead,” said Hood, the first Leigh player confirmed with a new deal for 2021.

“We were all raring to go even for four or five games. We have all trained individually, trying to keep in decent shape hoping the season was going to start up again.

“So, it is tough and disappointing we can’t play but we all stand by Derek’s decision. The lads spoke about it and we are 100 percent with him.

“Now we are all looking forward to 2021.We are not scared to say our main goal is to get promoted. We will be confident but so will other teams and the Championship will be a good standard as a number of clubs like Toulouse, Bradford and Widnes have signed well.”

Former Leeds hooker Hood says it was a simple call to agree

a new deal.

“It has not been the greatest year to put yourself in a spot to earn a new contract,” admitted the Scottish international.

“So, it was a relief to get it sorted. But apart from the short stint at Widnes, I have been at Leigh for five years and I never wanted to leave.

“I felt I have played my best rugby at Leigh so it was an easy decision.

“I am now just looking forward to building with the club and to get where we want to be.”

Since Hood’s announcement, Centurions have confirmed terms with forwards: Tom Spencer, Nathan Mason and Alex Gerrard. Fellow pack star Adam Walker from Salford City Reds is a new face for 2021.

Other current Super League players are expected to follow Walker to Leigh Sports Village.

“This means that the dates proposed for the autumn competition cannot work for our squad,” said Mr Beaumont.

“It would be unfair to expect players who have come from a crammed season to continue playing in November and December which would in mine and my coaches’ opinions, be against player welfare.

“It would also see us forgo a pre-season to the disadvantage of those not competing in it, which is a big part of the preparation and would hinder our opportunities for the club's main focus which is to get promoted to Super League in 2021.

“I am confident our sponsors and supporters will understand the decision and what is important in all of this is the club’s main goal and nothing should be done to compromise that nor the welfare of the players.”