Rowley ready to deal with NRL quality

Rowley ready to deal with NRL quality

Rowley ready to deal with NRL quality

First published in Sport by

CENTURIONS boss Paul Rowley knows his side will have to deal with NRL quality if they are to overcome Rochdale Hornets at Spotland on Sunday, 3pm.

Leigh recovered from their first Championship defeat of the season with a win over Keighley on Saturday.

But Rochdale boast former NRL fullback Shannon McDonnell, who has played several games with the Hornets on a dual-registration from St Helens.

“Rochdale are a very good side and they are arguably one of the form teams in the league at the minute,” said Rowley.

“They’ve had three wins and then come across the other form team in Workington and got a bonus point there.”

“They’ve got some fantastic personnel on board at the minute from their friends and neighbours at St Helens.

“This includes a player with NRL Experience in Shannon McDonnell.”

McDonnell signed for St Helens in April after resigning from his Hull contract. Rowley added: “He’s a pretty impressive player and they are a good team.”

Centurions played Ian Talbot’s team on back-to-back weekends in league and cup and the third encounter sees Leigh exercise their right regarding loan player and former skipper Stuart Littler.

The centre is continuing with Rochdale until the end of the season but will not play this Sunday.

“They’ve managed to recruit some good duals and loan players – Stuart is a casing point,” said Rowley.

“They are battling hard to avoid relegation and are a very desperate team like anyone else.”

The nilling of Keighley saw Centurions keep their try line intact for a third time this season.

Rowley added: “Our defence was unbelievable. Leading towards the end of the season you want to know that sort of thing is in order.

“That is the hardest trade to master and we’ve got that under control. However, on the flip side we’ve dropped off with our respect for possession.

“That’s been way below par for the past three or four weeks so we’ve got an obvious area to address at training.

“Last week was understandable as we trained for large parts with no pivots and no fullback.

“While we want to still play attractive rugby we’ve got to have respect for the ball to produce the results.

“It’s not back to basics as such but it’s doing it in the manner that’s sensible. What might seem high risk is actually low risk when factored in.”

Cameron Pitman returned on Saturday while Adam Higson regained his spot on the wing.

“Some of the boys were playing in the reserves and they were either dropped, rested or just at a natural part of their progression,” explained Rowley.

“Everyone is digging in, working really hard and all fighting for a spot, We’re not in bad shape as a club.”

Centurions reserves top the percentage based table after accounting for Sheffield Eagles 46-16 and Paul Anderson’s side could all but tie up top spot with a win at Cougar Park tonight, Thursday, 7.30pm.

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