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Cooke the danger man
LEIGH Centurions take a step into the unknown when they host Doncaster for the first time in four years at Leigh Sports Village on Sunday, kick off 3pm.
“It’s something new for us and we’ve been doing our homework this week,” said Centurions head coach Paul Rowley.
Little currently separates the sides, with both having two wins and one defeat from their first three Kingstone Press Championship games.
Doncaster won the Championship One Grand Final last year and are boosted by the presence of former international player Paul Cooke, who Rowley has already pinpointed as a key player.
“We are aware of the calibre of player they have in their ranks with the likes of Paul Cooke,” he said.
“He’s a far better player than Championship level one would suggest.
“Having such an influential player in their ranks makes them a very dangerous team.”
Usually home games are seen as an advantage but the Leigh boss is not so sure this week.
“They play on a similar pitch and have fantastic facilities, so it’s going to be a pitch that they enjoy playing on when they visit us,” he said.
“What we can expect is that they will have a tough side and a very confident side. They’ve come from winning a Grand Final to making a good start in the Championship.”
Mat Gardner misses the game through suspension after being found guilty of head-butting an opponent during Leigh’s 40-0 success over Hunslet.
“That has left us with a major headache,” Rowley said.
“Unlike some teams we are unable to call on dual registrations, but we will deal with it. We’ve got some things up our sleeve and won’t be losing any sleep.”
Looking back on their 28-14 victory at Whitehaven last week, Rowley was impressed with the attitude of his players.
“It was 100 percent,” he said.
“Again I don’t think we played overly smart. We did in patches and did some really instinctive things for a couple of our tries but we are really making life difficult for ourselves.
“There is certainly more scope to play rugby instead of the one-man stuff at times. We want to encourage our team to play but I suppose that takes confidence and game time. We want to improve week on week, starting this Sunday.”
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