LEIGH Centurions go into their toughest test since round one on the back of their best performance so far.
Championship holders Sheffield Eagles come to town tomorrow night, Friday, two places ahead of a Leigh side that racked up 46 points in their success at Keighley Cougars on Sunday.
Paul Rowley, who welcomes back into the running for selection Martin Aspinwall and skipper Rob Parker, was made up with his side’s fourth win from five outings.
He paid tribute to his team after watching the game for a second time on video had highlighted so many good things about the performance.
“Sometimes when you look at the surroundings you are in, the weather, a dull day in Yorkshire and a few stop-start things in the game, you can lose sight of how good you actually played at times,” said the head coach.
“I thought we were really good. I thought our team scored some fantastic tries. Our shape in attack, how hard we worked and our contact and aggression in defence, our all round performance on Sunday was fantastic. It took that second look to appreciate how good we were.
“It was certainly our best performance to date and our execution of plays was good and there were too many stand-out performances to start naming names. Luckily it was witnessed by a good travelling support, who kept shouting.”
With two form teams to clash at the Leigh Sports Village tomorrow, kick off 7.30pm, Rowley is expecting a good game.
“You only have to look at the squad of the Sheffield team and on paper they are a fantastic side – the Championship trophy holders,” he said.
“There is no sterner test and it promises to be an exciting game.”
Although having a similar record to Centurions, Rowley feels the extra squad rotation will mean a fresh visiting team will march on the LSV.
“I expect a full-strength side with all the stars playing for them. They have a very extravagent back five players and probably the most potent attacking force on paper, in the competition. We are expecting them to try and utilise that as often as they can.”
But Rowley can also point to his team’s own form.
He said: “If you can get momentum, anything can happen and no matter who your side is, points can soon rack up.”
Leigh will need to check on the fitness of Simon Finnigan, while Tom Spencer may be recalled by Wigan following a clutch of injuries.
Rowley has welcomed Wigan pair Joe Bullock and Andy Cunningham to the club, although the terms of their arrival has not been made clear.
“Joe was always likely to join us,” said Rowley.
“He was originally a Leigh player before moving to Wigan. He could have gone out on dual registration but his first port of call was to join our club and we are certainly happy to have him on board.
“Andy is a hooker by trade, albeit he played full back in the under 20s and really enjoyed himself. I think it’s a testament to the environment we are providing that players want to come to our club either to play in our first team or under 20s where they are trying to push their way in. It’s all healthy competition and we want that pressure.”
Bullock was among the try scorers as Leigh’s youngsters defeated Oldham 28-14 last week. Josh Ward crossed twice, while Anthony Bate and Aaron Lloyd got in on the act.