Leigh Centurions on red alert

Bob Beswick flies clear of the Wigan chasers in Leigh Centurions’ first friendly of the year at Leigh Sports Village on Sunday. Unfortunately, Beswick is one of three first-team hookers to be nursing injuries and will not figure against Salford City Red

Bob Beswick flies clear of the Wigan chasers in Leigh Centurions’ first friendly of the year at Leigh Sports Village on Sunday. Unfortunately, Beswick is one of three first-team hookers to be nursing injuries and will not figure against Salford City Red

First published in Sport by

LEIGH Centurions face their second Super League team in quick succession tomorrow, Friday, when they host Salford Red Devils.

Although Salford struggled on the field last year, a winter signing spree headlined by Adrian Morley and Rangi Chase sees a much stronger prospect roll into town for the 7.30pm kick off.

Fresh from their 28-36 opening defeat to Wigan (see report inside), Centurions boss Paul Rowley gave early indications that a similar squad would take the field against Brian Noble’s charges although checks will be made on several squad members ahead of the fixture.

“There were plenty of positives to come out of the Wigan game but also some real fundamental errors where our systems are concerned but we did an hour and a half on the video,” said Rowley.

“It’s a good baseline. We’ve reinforced our rules and principles and going forward from here we’ll work from this point.

“We are used to having two or three new bodies joining the club and this season we have seen a considerable change. It’s something new for us all and those rules and principles can take a little time to become habits.

“Wigan executed very well but I believe very few passages of play can’t be solved.

“It’s good because we’ll be tested again by good opposition on Friday.”

Games like this mean the Centurions should head into the season already battle hardened.

He said: “Salford are a team that has gone from living from scraps to being given a credit card with an almost endless limit.

“They have bought a team and manufactured. It’s a bit like X-Factor. They’ve got everything there from training structure to experienced coach and some world class players. The eyes of the world are all upon Salford. With that comes an element of pressure but it doesn’t guarantee success and they will win some big games.

“It will test our character. It’s a five-day turnaround. Our boys are sore from the previous game and we are just a little bit stretched on the injury situation.

“We have three first-team hookers and none are available so one of the under 20s lads will come in. It’s good for him and to be honest it’s probably bizarre preparation.”

The young player in question is Lewis Foster, recruited in the close season by Paul Anderson from St Helens and impressed in Friday’s narrow loss to Rochdale.

The former Cowley pupil was a schoolboy international before his stint playing under 18s and 19s rugby at Saints.

As last week there is also second game for Leigh fans to look forward to this weekend when Centurions host North Wales Crusaders at the LSV on Sunday afternoon.

Kick off against Clive Griffiths’ promoted team is 2pm, contrary to earlier reports of a 3pm start.

“It’s stretching us but the team on Sunday will have some first-team lads available,” said Rowley.

A fixture change has also been confirmed by the Centurions, with the home game against Keighley, originally scheduled for Sunday, July 20th, now set to take place on Saturday, July 19, with a 6.30pm kick off.

* Back rower Simon Finnigan has hung up his playing boots.

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