AFTER a successful start to the Kingstone Press Championship, Leigh Centurions hit the road for the first time in 2014 when they head up the M6 to take on Barrow Raiders.
Now coached by former Leigh hooker Anthony Murray, Barrow lost their first game of the season at North Wales Crusaders on Sunday.
Although Leigh currently have two players in Craig Briscoe and Joe Bullock on loan at Craven Park, neither will play this weekend while as part of a gentleman’s agreement between Murray and Centurions boss Paul Rowley, Kurt Haggerty is unlikely to feature against his former teammates.
“I don’t suppose anyone can ever say they are looking forward to a trip to Barrow and the added thought is that still nobody knows how good or bad they really are at this stage,” said Rowley.
“No-one has momentum and you are all starting from scratch.”
Leigh missed out on a final warm-up game when their friendly at Halifax was called off on February 9 but they kicked into gear to inflict a 52-12 home win against last year’s Grand Final runners-up, Batley Bulldogs.
Rowley said: “I was quite nervous going into the game which is a combination of the respect I have for Batley as a club and their coaching staff.
“I’m always aware of our capability, but it’s about finding that consistency. We were fantastic in every aspect and if I could get that every week, I think we’d all be happy!
“I’ve spoken after every game about areas of progress and I felt there was probably 15 to 20 percent more in us. I wanted the Halifax game to test that out, but things happen for a reason and we probably saved it for against Batley.
“You could see the desire in that shirt and we sent a clear message out to one of our rivals.”
He added: “I thought it was a slow game in a lot of respects and that told its tale in that we only made two changes at half time. I felt there was no rhythm to the game and that was largely due to Batley’s controlling of the ruck.
“We worked hard to get that performance and I’m pleased for the players. They deserved to sing the winning song, they deserved to take the winning money home.”
Other than the usual bumps and bruises, Leigh will run checks on Tommy Goulden, who did not take the field for the second half.
But Rowley has healthy troops to select from.
“The beauty of having pressure from underneath is that we’ll be all right and good to go this week,” Rowley said.
Further announcements look set to come from the club over coming days about their off-field team, while Leigh Centurions TV, which only launched officially in June last year, has already added £10,000 to club coffers.
Anyone who feels they may be able to offer further assistance to the venture is being urged to contact the club.