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Centurions seeks home comforts
HEAD coach Paul Rowley is calling on the Leigh Centurions fans to roar his side to a home tie in the play-offs.
With the Northern Rail Cup already safely tucked away, Centurions can boost their Grand Final chances by securing a fourth-place finish with victory over Dewsbury Rams at Leigh Sports Village on Sunday, kick off 3pm.
Although that would mean a trip to table toppers Sheffield Eagles or Featherstone Rovers in the opening round, a home game would follow.
And Rowley expects his men will be given a tough test by the Yorkshire opponents, who need the points for a sixth-place finish in the Kingstone Press Championship that would hand them a home game for openers in the play-offs.He believes the kind of backing Batley Bulldogs enjoyed from their following when Leigh lost there a fortnight ago can make a difference.
“Dewsbury are still fighting for a home draw and it’s no different for us – business as normal,” said Rowley.
“We are looking forward to having a vociferous set of fans behind us to be honest.
“I certainly think Batley got the rub of the green and I certainly think when the crowd is behind us, it can be influential.
“We are hoping our fans are right behind us on Sunday.”
Centurions will need to check on the fitness of Sam Hopkins and Simon Finnigan ahead of their clash with Rams.
Rowley gave his players four days’ rest following their exhausting schedule of four games in 12 days.
And he has spoken of the demanding schedule affecting the Championship clubs this season, especially the impact of matches scheduled on Thursday nights.
He said: “Last year, if we’d played on a Thursday we usually brought the lads in on Saturday for some activity.
“The schedule has been so intense this year that any Thursday games have been followed by days off until the following Tuesday.
“We’ve had a tough schedule but Workington Town’s schedule of late has been ridiculous.
“When there is supposedly such an emphasis on player welfare, it always comes across as pretty shallow because the actions don’t back up their words.
“The welfare is heavily weighted on Super League players and not Championship, when really it should be the Championship players under most consideration – they balance work, playing and life as well. They’ve been very neglected I’ve thought, especially this year.”
He continued: “If you look at Thursdays, straight away it’s a day or half a day off in going to the game and an extra day after because you are arriving home late.
“Games in the week are a huge advantage to the home sides, and I suppose that’s why personally I enjoyed the Friday night games from our point of view last season.
“I am an advocate of Friday nights or Saturday kick-offs, although I realise that may be unpopular with our older fans.
“I think it brings success on the field – for example Sheffield haven’t lost a game at home all season when played on a Friday night.”
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