LEIGH Centurions fans can expect pragmatism over panache in the club’s attempt to regain Super League status at the first attempt, writes Trevor Baxter.

That’s the message from head coach Neil Jukes as Centurions ramp up preparations for what they hope will be just a one season stay in the Kingstone Press Championship.

Leigh plundered 972 points during the 2015 regular campaign under Paul Rowley but flopped in the Middle 8s.

In 2016, with Jukes stepping up from assistant to take charge after Rowley’s departure, Centurions retained the League Leaders’ Shield, accumulating 91 fewer points in their 23 league fixtures.

However, the Middle 8s proved a happier hunting ground and six wins from seven games earned Leigh promotion.

The question of playing style was raised during the club’s recent successful, sell-out fans forum with one supporter expressing his enjoyment at the brand of rugby under Rowley.

“Is that 2015 when we finished bottom of the Middle 8s,” countered Jukes to rapturous applause.

“It wasn’t good enough to get us into Super League for 2016.

“So, do fans want us to beat every Championship side and fail? Or play aggressive rugby and get into Super League?

“We all want to play rugby as much as we can, make it look nice and pretty.

“If you want to play that way then get that type of coach in. Ultimately, it’s about keeping hold of the ball and it’s about having the ball in the right areas.

“And also having enough energy and right attitude to defend in the right areas.

“That’s what got us into Super League, not throwing the ball from touchline to touchline to touchline just to keep all the fans happy.

“My job is to get a team into Super League. And if we can replicate what we did in 2016 then that’s what I am here to do.

“It might not please everyone. But there was no one happier than the fans when we put 50 on Huddersfield in the Middle 8s in 2016.”

Leigh play their first competitive friendly at Doncaster on Sunday, January 14. They entertain Wigan on Sunday, January 21 and then travel to St Helens on Friday, January 27.

By then Jukes will have named his skipper for 2018.

“We will have a strong leadership group that will support the captain as well,” he said.

Micky Higham skippered the side in 2017 with Harrison Hansen, players’ and coaches’ player of the year in 2017, and Glenn Stewart his vice captains.

“He (Hansen) won’t be a million miles off but we haven’t gone down that route just yet,” added Jukes.