LEIGH’S stupendous win over high-flying Batley Bulldogs was all the more amazing considering they were playing for pride!
The players are on a win only match day bonus on top of their small contract arrangement.
But it is understood that a number of the squad are on contracts that don’t actually pay them any money and their only income is from the win bonuses. In essence if Leigh lose, then the players don’t get paid.
Of course the contract and its bonus payment system is what has been signed up to, but when bonuses for the previous four games had not been paid, the players were called to a meeting.
They were then informed that those payments could not be honoured and that there was insufficient money in the pot to suggest that any further bonuses would not be paid this season unless the club won some prize money.
Leigh director, Phil Coffey was with the players along with coach Paul Rowley and the rest of his coaching staff, and what they found out left the players stunned, especially as the income from their rugby commitment is an integral part of their financial welfare.
But as Paul Rowley confirmed, the players backed the club to the hilt despite their obvious dismay.
“They were stunned,” he confirmed. “But once I knew there was a problem, there was no way I was going to ask the players to take on Batley without them knowing that they would not get paid for the privilege.
“I told them that I would be there to coach the team at 1pm on match day as always and I would be there for whoever turned up. But after they had asked questions, to a man they asked how they could help the club.
“They then turned up on Sunday and as you can see pulled off an incredible result against Batley – not only beating them, but also preventing them from getting on the scoreboard.
“These are a really special bunch of players and the way they have taken this in their stride and shown their commitment to the club they love is fantastic. We are all in this together.”
Now Leigh head to York on Sunday with Rowley and the Board no doubt hoping that the players will show the same fierce commitment that secured the win over Batley.
It was a win that Rowley never doubted as they left the changing rooms. “The attitude and commitment was there for all to see,“ he said. “We’ve always stressed about talent on the show but the attitude was the main thing, the will to win and the desire.
“The look in the eyes beforehand told me they were ready to play. There is a lot of trust and a lot of friendship in that dressing room. Batley are a big side and pride themselves on bashing you up the middle they are a huge outfit but sometimes you can be a bit smarter and that was what we were.”
Leigh debutant Rhodri Lloyd was injured in the game and will not be playing at York after suffering a neck injury that prompted a cautionary trip to hospital. But otherwise the team came through unscathed. “It was a magnificent effort with all that had gone on before,” added Rowley.
“And hopefully we will get Tommy Goulden back for this weekend. It’s tough at the moment but we will come through.”