Thursday, 8 August 2019

Sunday's Coming: Leigh

PET PROJECT: John Duffy Welcomes Junior Sa'u to Leigh
Next up at Spotland are Leigh Centurions. Having crashed and burned last season, Leigh look to be on a proper mission to make the top five and give it a real dig in the promotion playoffs. But it's tight at the top. Chasing runaway leaders Toronto, only three points separate second from fifth, with Sheffield hovering four-points away in sixth waiting for someone to slip-up.

And that very nearly happened last week.

Leigh came back from 24-10 down at the LSV to beat Swinton by a point, secured via a 79th minute Ryan Brierley’s drop-goal that gave them a seven-point lead ahead of a Swinton try on the hooter.

Leigh coach John Duffy said his side's flaky performance was a matter of attitude:  "We didn’t turn up with the right attitude," he said after the game.

“We shouldn’t need Ryan’s drop-goal..." he said on the Centurions website earlier this week: "... you can’t turn up with that attitude and I’ve just told the players that. It’s not acceptable at this club. I don’t know why they did that at this stage of the season so there were some harsh words said at half-time and again after the game."

“They are going to have a real tough week this week. I’m going to go hard on them. We go to Rochdale next week who are desperate for points so we move on.”

Leigh rock up on Sunday sitting fourth in the Championship, needing points themselves to maintain their playoffs push. With the distant scent of Super League's promised-land in their nostrils, so desperate are they for points that Duffy has been on something of a signing spree in the last few weeks, adding:

- Former Leyther Jordan Thompson from Hull FC
- Wigan centre Liam Forsyth
- Former Leigh and ex-Newcastle Knights, North Queensland Cowboys, Wests Tigers, Hull Kingston Rovers, Salford and Toronto back rower Corey Paterson
- Ryan Brierley back on loan from Toronto Wolfpack until the end of the season
- Junior Sa’u from Salford Red Devils until the end of the 2020 (complete with hamster)
- Castleford Tigers prop forward Mitch Clark, until the end of the season
- Wing Adam Higson back from Toronto, signed until the end of 2020
- Five-eighth Ben Reynolds from Wakefield (also previously at Leigh)

Clearly someone at the LSV has struck lucky on a scratchcard - so you can see why Leigh nerves were a little shredded last weekend.

Hornets come into the game on the back of the now customary weekly 50-point flogging - this time at the hands of a Batley side that struggled to break into a jog.

Having put in a decent shift in the first 40, Hornets produced another second half batting collapse that blew out the scoreline. It's been a recurring pattern - as soon as the opposition gain a lead, everything heads south at a rate of knots.

This is the point where we usually offer some rousing motivational message, so...

The good news is that we are just 320 minutes from the end of the season. That's just 5 hours and 20 minutes more to endure. We've come this far, people - let's dig in for the rest.