AFTER 10 weeks of hard work behind the scenes, the playing squad of Leigh Centurions finally have some games to look forward too.
This weekend sees ‘old enemy’ Wigan head to Leigh Sports Village on Sunday, while a mainly under 20s side with a sprinkling of first-team experience take on newly promoted Rochdale Hornets tomorrow night, Friday, at Leigh East, kick off 7.45pm.
It will be a testing weekend for both squads and head coach Paul Rowley can not wait to see everyone in action.
“We’ll probably go with 22 players against Wigan,” he confirmed.
“It will be a tough test for our boys. Wigan have returned from an extended period in the sun where they worked very hard and they will be full on now for the challenge of becoming the world’s best rugby team. It’s one that will test us and we will learn a lot from it.
“There will be no bold statements made with team selection or anything like that. It will be subtle and people will get game time in different positions.”
The game on Friday night will see Joe Bullock, Anthony Bate and Craig Briscoe play against what on paper looks a testing Rochdale side.
“Michael Dengate and Cameron Pitman will play in that so there are plenty of capable players playing. Rochdale have said they are sending a full team and it’s one I’m looking forward to.
“Craig (Briscoe) has plenty of experience and we play Salford on a short turnaround so he, Bullock and Bate will all feature in that one.
“We have 48 players over two squads and you are allowed 65 when you break it down. It’s a modest number but I’m happy with 48, it’s all quality.”
Off the field, it has been a sad week for the club, with club photographer Maurice Jones and former Hilton Park groundsman Billy Lea having both died. Both men had been ill for some time with Rowley speaking warmly of the pair.
“Maurice has been around taking pictures for years and was always great at capturing that moment. I’d class him as a friend.
“I’ve known Billy for 20 years or more and he will be sadly missed.”
Ahead of Sunday’s game with Wigan the Legends Bar will relaunch at 12.30pm with 1970s point scoring centre Mick Stacey conducting the opening.
Earlier this week, Centurions confirmed another commercial partner ahead of the 2014 season.
Motor dealer Evan Halshaw, with more than 130 locations across England, Scotland and Wales as well as bases in USA and Germany, have linked up with Leigh.
Centurions commercial manager Rob Parker said: ‘’With the work that is being done behind the scenes both on and off the field at the club, it is a really exciting time for the town of Leigh and we can’t wait to get the season under way.”