CENTURIONS welcome ‘derby’ rivals and Leigh Sports Village tenants Swinton Lions on Good Friday for a clash being tipped as ‘tough’ by boss Paul Rowley.
While Leigh maintained their winning run at Halifax at the weekend, Swinton won 37-31 against Dewsbury and have seen a recent upturn in form.
Rowley said: “They are a good team and almost annually win the most bonus points. We’ll have to be very good to get the result we want.”
But he admitted that planning is difficult with the influx of dual-registration players coming into the league, and Swinton have a partnership with Super League club Warrington Wolves.
Rowley said: “The influence dual-reg is having on the Championship is quite remarkable. The game between Rochdale and Whitehaven included seven St Helens players for example.
“It comes down to a bit of guesswork because we are finding it difficult to prepare. We don’t know who will play this week for Swinton.
“What that does do, is put more of a focus on what you are doing. We will worry about ourselves.”
Leigh go into the game on the back of one of the largest comebacks in their history at The Shay.
Rowley said: “After the game it felt like a long time since we were 24-0 down, but stats don’t lie. They completed heavily in that first half and we did in the second. It was the proverbial game of two halves and when it came down to it, it was a test of character and will and we passed it.”
Bumps and bruises were the only injuries reported after the game and Rowley said: “We’ll check on those and make sure we play fully fit people. I’ll pick the team that’s going to go all out for the win this week.”
Meanwhile, Centurions are hailing the success of their community game at Golborne Parkside on Saturday.
A rampant Centurions Reserves ran in 20 tries against North East Thunder, with scrum half Josh Ward hitting 18 goals in a 116-0 whitewash.
Chris Hankinson led the way with five tries, while Lewis Foster and Tyler Spence helped themselves to hat-tricks.
“Paul Anderson, Simon Finnigan and Steve Mayo are doing a great job,” Rowley said.
“I’m also sure that Golborne would have made some money and there were a good number of first-team lads supporting the young side. That shows that we are all in it together.”
Hankinson and Foster have agreed extended contracts that will keep them at Leigh until November 2016. It follows on the heels of similar recent deals for Sam Baggaley, Frankie Halton and Sam Peet.
Anderson said: “I am pleased that the directors have again backed my judgement and in recent weeks we have now signed up five players who all have the potential to become good players for Leigh Centurions.
“Lewis played for St Helens under 19s and has a big future. He prefers playing nine but could easily become a seven over time.
“Chris is a Wigan lad who can play in the pack or three-quarters and could even become a prop. He is a versatile player and got a taste of first-team action against Wigan St Pats.”