LEIGH Centurions boss Paul Rowley is confident his men can do the job in Championship round one at highly-fancied Featherstone Rovers on Sunday despite injury concerns.
Featherstone, a place where Centurions have failed to win in almost five years, have just returned from a team trip to the continent, while Leigh’s preparations continued with a 16-6 win over Swinton Lions that has cost them three players for this weekend.
Rowley said: “While we were playing Swinton in a blizzard, Featherstone were preparing at a warm weather training camp in Spain. It’s a bit of a contrast!
“They’ve had plenty of money thrown at them and are once again the team to beat. It’s a baptism of fire.”
Tommy Goulden, Simon Finnigan and Thomas Coyle will all sit out the trip. Goulden pulled a hamstring in pursuit of tackling Lions full back Ritchie Hawkyard, Finnigan has a suspected broken foot while the luckless Coyle broke a thumb.
Mat Gardner is also a continuing neck injury doubt but Rowley still feels his team will provide a challenge.
“We’ll train hard, we’ll put 17 on the pitch and we are going there to win the game,” he said.
“It’s 17 players against 17 players. Although they are 17 good players, we are pretty confident in our own ability too. It’s a pretty hostile environment that we are going to. We’ll accept the challenge and go there giving 100 per cent.”
Leigh took a 10-0 lead into the break on Friday night after tries from Gregg McNally and Andy Thornley.
The Lions struck with a Ryan Shaw improved try from Jack Morrison before Ryan Brierley slid over and Martyn Ridyard hit his second goal before the fixture was abandoned six minutes from time.
In their two games so far, Centurions have conceded just 12 points and only four penalties.
“Especially in that middle unit, we’ve been really solid,” said Rowley.
“We’ve been good defensively and put a lot of emphasis on it.
“It has been pretty efficient as well. We are on an average of just two penalties. If we can keep that up for the season we would be by far and away the least penalised team.
“It will be interesting to see how we go against Featherstone in that regard too.
“We had a very low average last year, but sometimes things can happen out of your control and one high penalty count can soon mess your average up.”