Exciting times ahead says Leigh boss Rowley

Paul Rowley
Paul Rowley

PAUL Rowley says Leigh are more determined than ever to reach the Kingstone Press Championship Grand Final after their nine game winning run was ended at Sheffield.

Centurions were edged out at the Don Valley Stadium as an exhausting schedule of four games in 12 days finally took its toll.

“Despite the defeat we can take a lot from it,” said Rowley.

“Sheffield were delighted with the way they played while we were disappointed with ours; even though we’d played poorly we could still have won.

“A few 50-50 decisions went against us and they came at defining moments in the game.

“I accept that we were just not good enough on the day but we were playing the current Champions and the team at the top of the league.”

Leigh can continue their push for a top three finish with a win over Whitehaven at the Sports Village on Sunday. And even though Leigh have beaten the Cumbrians twice already this season, Rowley has a lot of respect for them.

“They have some good players including a few with Super League experience who are there on dual registration from St Helens.

“Recent results have shown anyone can beat anyone on the day – it has been that sort of season.”

“But we are a confident side, especially at home.”

Centurions are monitoring the fitness of Matt Gardner, Michael Ostick, Rob Parker and Matt Gardner but they received a welcome boost with the return of Martin Aspinwall after a long-term injury at Sheffield.

“Martin did well at Sheffield,” said Rowley.

“He is coming back at the right time with the play-offs only a few weeks away.

“We’re also hoping Sam Hopkins can be back within a fortnight.

“Injuries have meant we have been able to give youngsters like Joe Bullock a chance which stands us in good stead for the rest of the season.

“There is a lot for us to look forward to and some exciting times ahead for this club.

“We have beaten every side in this division already this season so while we respect everyone we fear nobody.

“There is a real hunger for more success this season in our camp, especially after we won the Northern Rail Cup.”

Longer term, Leigh have extended the contracts of experienced trio Matt Gardner, Tommy Goulden and Steve Maden.

“They are all valuable members of the squad on and off the pitch,” said Rowley.

“They are players who get on with their jobs week in, week out and already our 2014 squad has a look of stability.

“That said we are looking to make a few additions for next season.”