PAUL Rowley says Tommy Goulden has something that every player dreams of. The respect of his fellow players.
“He may not be in the limelight very often,” said the Leigh coach. “But he so valuable to our club.”
The Leigh Miners Rangers product has been outstanding in recent weeks for Centurions, an integral part of a pack where competition for places is fierce.
He played a leading role in Leigh’s remarkable fightback at Halifax earlier this month, scoring a try as Centurions overturned a 24-0 deficit to eventually win 36-28. This despite being down to 12 men for half an hour.
“We showed some great character to come back at Halifax,” said Goulden. “It was a crucial try from Sam Barlow just before half-time and that spurred us on.
“We are a side which has great determination to turn things round when they’re not going our way and that was illustrated at Halifax.
“Our completion rates let us down and we just weren’t smart enough. When we started to get some possession we had the energy to do something with the ball.”
Goulden has been a virtual ever present at his hometown club since joining from Oldham for the 2010 season. He turned professional with Rochdale in 2005 and spent three years at Spotland.
But he jumped at the chance of joining Leigh and his industry and reliability quickly endeared him to the fans.
“I think he’s under-rated but not by us,” said Rowley. “Some people don’t actually realise how skilful he is. He has the ability get passes away in tackles and his timing on angled runs is exceptional.
“He is a leader on the field and respected by his team-mates which for me is the greatest accolade you can receive as a player.”
Goulden has tasted success in the Northern Rail Cup with Leigh in recent years and is confident of more big days ahead at the club.
On Sunday, Leigh take on Featherstone Rovers at the Sports Village for a place in the last eight of the Tetley’s Challenge Cup. Centurions have won all 10 of their games in 2014 and boast the longest winning run in the sport.
They currently top the Kingstone Press Championship and are looking for an extended run in the Challenge Cup.
“We tend to raise our game for the big matches,” he said. “But sometimes a game can be an arm wrestle and it’s about just getting the win.”