NEIL Jukes has challenged Leigh’s upwardly mobile squad to push for end of season international recognition.
Two wins from their opening five games, including last Friday’s 30-0 whitewash of Huddersfield, have taken Centurions into the top eight.
And they will be in the spotlight tonight (Thursday) when bottom of the table Warrington Wolves visit the Leigh Sports Village.
“We have got a cluster of good young local guys who want to get on the plane at the end of the year,” said Jukes of his England World Cup wannabees “There is no reason why they can’t.
“Ben Reynolds has only played his fourth Super League games and is definitely one for the future. Jamie Acton and Sam Hopkins have played three.
“We have Matty Dawson who didn’t get much of a shot at Saints and who has come in and likes it here.
“Adam Higson is another one.
“There are good examples of players from other clubs who played in the Four Nations last year who probably didn’t think they had a chance.
“So, if our guys work hard enough and have a bit of luck with injury they have every chance.”
Last season’s Grand Final runners-up have lost their opening four domestic games with victory over Brisbane their only success.
“Warrington will give us the full respect as Huddersfield did,” adds Jukes. “They are a top four potential team so we can’t stand back and see what is going happen and try to stay with them. We have got to go at it again.”
Jukes has confirmed Willie Tonga could be side lined for upto 10 weeks after tearing his bicep.
Aussies Glenn Stewart (ribs) and Cory Paterson (concussion) are likely to miss out against Wire as they recover from a rib injury and concussion respectively. But Dayne Weston is available again having played only one Super League game-against Castleford.
Leigh owner Derek Beaumont has slammed the decision which forces the club to move the kick-off time for the Betfred Super League home clash with Widnes Vikings on April 1 from 6pm to 4pm.
Centurions were told by the Safety Advisory Group a 6pm start would necessitate a police presence at the game.
“The club cannot allocate significant four figure sums for such services, especially when there is an alternative to the situation,” explained Beaumont.
“Any shortfall is funded by me and I would not be prepared to personally provide sums for something I don’t feel is necessary or justified.
“It has been communicated to me that there are insufficient resources to deal with a situation should one occur in the town centre as a result of people being at the game later.
“As a tax paying citizen I find this incredibly alarming that our vital resources such as police and ambulance are so stretched.
“Furthermore I would argue that bringing people to the ground earlier will see them drinking for longer and arriving in the town centre earlier meaning that there will be more alcohol consumed and in my opinion this has the complete opposite effect.
“In my opinion bringing the kick-off forward will heighten the potential for the concerns they have.
“We have no history of trouble at Leigh Sports Village in all our time of playing there and I am not aware of any occasion where it has been necessary to have a police presence or indeed have the police called into the stadium for an incident.
He apologised to the fans for this change to the planned early evening kick-off and thanked Widnes for agreeing to this change.
“We’re also seeking a change of opinion for our game against Wakefield, 6pm, May 6,” he said.