PAUL Rowley will hand the reins to his Leigh Centurions assistant Neil Jukes at North Wales this week as thank you for his help this season.
Centurions head to Wrexham on Sunday for their final game of the regular season.
And Rowley will take the opportunity to highlight the importance of his assistant coach.
“I don’t feel that I praise my right hand man often enough.” He said. “Neil Jukes has been great this year and I’m letting him take a lead role this week in the build up to the North Wales game.
“He has been outstanding since minute one and is such a good man to have around. A lot of this year’s success is down to Neil.
“I choose my staff very, very carefully. With any addition it’s important they are the right person, have the right qualities and something different that we haven’t got already but at the top of the page is trust.”
Sunday’s fixture sees Leigh go head-to-head with a side coached by Anthony Murray.
“I’m looking for another win.” Rowley added. “We are looking like we did last week to start reaching a bit of play-off intensity and on review of last week’s game against Workington, I thought I was really hard on the boys.
“I was a bit critical of all aspects of the game. I thought we were loose in some areas. Our defence for large parts of the game was outstanding, to concede only two tries, one from a kick and one from a blatant forward pass. We defended four sets in a row on two occasions.
“I’m looking for our players to replicate that intensity. The commitment in defence was brilliant and if we can improve what we do with the ball then we will set ourselves up in fantastic form for the play-offs.
“We understand it’s going to be a stern test. North Wales haven’t been far off in most of their last few games.”
Centurions’ first team will be out on Friday evening in support of the Reserves, who host Sheffield Eagles in their Grand Final at 8pm.
Paul Anderson’s side have already raced past the 1,000-point mark this season.
“We are training on Friday rather than our normal Saturday session because all the first team boys are keen to come and support,” Rowley explained.
“The full squad will be mingling and it would be really nice to get somewhere close to 1,000 spectators there on a Friday night.
“It is going to be a good event. They have emulated the first team and only lost one game all year. It has been a good year for the club.
“Paul Anderson, Simon Finnigan and Steve Mayo have brought the Reserves on tremendously well and Steve Maden has had a massive mentoring role.
“There is a lot of effort that has gone into working with the youngsters. We are really pleased to see that effort pay dividends and come to fruition.”
Another two members of the Reserve squad have penned extended deals with the club.
Fullback, wing or centre Corey Lee and wing/centre Eze Harper have both agreed contracts that keep them with the club in the face of interest from elsewhere.
In other news Jake Emmitt was named in the Kingstone Press Championship team of the week.