Centurions need to hold their nerve says Rowley

Leigh's Gareth Hock is out injured. Photo: Paul McCarthy Photography
Leigh's Gareth Hock is out injured. Photo: Paul McCarthy Photography

PAUL Rowley admits the best Leigh can hope for at this early stage of the Super 8 qualifiers is a play-off spot.

Centurions have suffered defeats in their opening games of the new format against Hull KR and Salford.

But they can reignite their promotion challenge with a win over Wakefield on Saturday at the Sports Village.

The Leigh coach says his players will approach the game as if it were a Grand Final and is calling on the fans to continue backing their team in their thousands.

“We need to stay on it and the fans need to keep expecting us to deliver,” said Rowley.

“A win and we’re fighting for that fourth spot and home advantage in the Million Pound Game. But a defeat and we’re scrapping out for fifth which would mean we were away.”

“Our fans were great again at Salford and travelled in numbers to make it a great atmosphere. It was a fantastic effort from them.

“My message to them is to keep getting behind us, and get down to the Sports Village on Saturday and enjoy it. Our club has to treat this game like a Grand Final.”

Although Leigh are still to pick a point in the competition, Rowley argues they’ve had the toughest start of all the sides involved in the new format.

“It has been the hardest schedule of any of the teams in the competition,” argued Rowley. “We play three Super League teams before a Championship side.

“But we will fight to the death and there are a lot of twists and turns to come. We need to hold our nerve.”

Wakefield lost their opening Super 8 game to Salford but were comfortable winners over Bradford last Saturday.

Earlier in the season, Leigh won at Belle Vue in the Challenge Cup but since then there have been several new additions to the Wakefield coach as well as a new coach in Brian Smith.

Gareth Hock is unavailable for the next three games after he had a clean-up operation on his knee.

Rowley said: “Gareth is a remarkably quick healer and a fantastic professional. “Hopefully he will be back sooner.”