Just over 50 days since the curtain fell on their record-breaking Super League season, Leigh Leopards return to pre-season training  to prepare for their already highly anticipated 2024 campaign.

Except for internationals Lachlan Lam, Edwin Ipape and Rob Mulhern, Monday marks the official start for their team mates.

Head coach Adrian Lam will take charge barely a fortnight after concluding his duties with Australian in the Pacific Championships, no doubt keen to forget the Kangaroos’ 30-0 final drubbing by New Zealand.

He will be joined by a quartet of players whose 2023 season was ended prematurely by injury including skipper John Asiata and centre Ricky Leutele.

The ex-Huddersfield Giant star, due back in the UK today (Thursday) missed the last three months of the season because of a spinal cord injury.

But Director of Rugby, Chris Chester, says Leutele’s operation was successful and he’s progressing towards returning to action in a yet to be announced January pre-season outing.

“It will probably take Ricky a couple of months to get to full fitness,” said Chester. “But as it stands he is not getting any discomfort in his neck so the signs are really positive.

“Anything to do with the neck and spine is serious but Ricky took a great deal of comfort knowing Tony Clubb had a similar operation to his neck.”

Asiata, already back in the country, missed Leigh’s final three games of the season, including play-off defeat to Hull KR, due to a severe hamstring injury.

“John has been seen by physio Chris Melling and while it might take two or three weeks to get him upto speed, he is looking forward to getting stuck in.

“John wants to play 80 minutes of every game. Sometimes you have got to drag him off the pitch.

“But we must manage him right and we have brought in some guys who are mobile and can do a good job in the middle.”

Zak Hardaker is back in harness after surgery to repair a broken hand and ready to hit the ground running on November 20.

Chester also confirmed Leigh are in patient pursuit of a marquee signing after moves to sign NRL star Anthony Milford collapsed.

“We are in a good spot and in no rush,” he told Journal Sport. “That deal (Milford) fell through no fault of anyone really.

“We had pretty much agreed a deal but due to a family issue with Anthony it didn’t happen.

“So, we move on to our next target. We are hopefully speaking to a lot of people and I am confident by the first round in February, we will have another marquee player in the squad.