JOHN Asiata reckons defence is key if Leigh are to lift the 1895 AB Sundecks Cup against Championship foes Featherstone on Saturday.

And the former NRL Grand Final and World Club Challenge winner shrugged off suggestions recent one-sided wins are easily achieved.

“People don’t play rugby league to cuddle,” said the ex-North Queensland Cowboys star. “The hits still hurt and you still feel sore the next day.

“You do see a lot of big score lines and people think it was an easy game. But it isn’t that easy on the field.

“We have to work hard to get these points; they just don’t come. Teams are not giving us the opportunities we are fighting for it and making it happen.”

That said Leigh have racked up 318 points in their last seven league and cup matches: Featherstone 378, twice topping 70.

But Centurions have conceded a measly 30 points in that time against their Yorkshire rivals total of 80.

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“We have been very consistent over the last five weeks, especially in our defence,” added the Samoan AND Tongan international. “I think that is going to go along way this week “I see the attack being good but our defence must be on it. However, we have built a mentality where everyone has got each other’s backs and that is what we are leaning to this week.”

Asiata, 29, has rebuilt his career with Leigh after a couple of injury hit seasons and controversy over his refusal to have the Covid-19 vaccine-a decision that cost him his contract with Canterbury Bulldogs.

His eye-catching form this year has certainly been Leigh’s gain but he remains only contracted until the end of the season.

“Since my arrival Leigh have been really good to me and my family. They have made sure everything was done so I could settle in quickly.

“We are enjoying life and the culture we have built up; my kids are enjoying school and I am enjoying footie again. I can only see it going up from here.

“My family is everything for me,” added the dad of two. “If they are happy it gives me less to worry about and I can focus on footie and play my best games.

“I am in a pretty good head space and it shows with my performances on the field.

“I came here with a mind-set of trying to find a love for the game again and be able to play because I love it, not because it is a job.

“That is what I am finding. Right now, I am going to continue that until the end of the year and see what happens.”