Jukes: Difficult start to season has been good for Centurions

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Neil Jukes admits he’s happy to have bettered Leigh’s Super League season of 2005 - so people will stop reminding him about it.

Last Thursday night’s impressive win over Warrington Wolves was Centurions’ third of the season – they only managed two wins and a draw in the whole of 2005.

“I’m glad we beat the record from 2005 because you keep mentioning it,” laughed Jukes.

Leigh go to Wakefield on Thursday looking for win number four which would keep them in the upper reaches of the Betfred Super League.

And Jukes hopes his team will be able to replicate their strong defensive performances on the road against a team which was beaten 38-14 at Leeds in the last round.

“Our defence was again outstanding against Warrington,” said Jukes.

“We knew we had to put Warrington under pressure because they are a class side. Our ruck defence was very good and we had to have plenty of energy. I was disappointed to concede a try but can’t complain too much after we nilled Huddersfield a week earlier. We are doing the simple things really well – good kicks, not giving penalties away, holding our nerve.

“A lot of it is about getting into the mentality of grinding teams down and controlling games. We keep chopping away and are doing the right things under pressure. Even when we didn’t have the ball we were playing the game in the right areas.”

Leigh will be without second rower Glenn Stewart after he was charged with a Grade C reckless tackle on Warrington’s Kevin Brown last Thursday. This typically carries a ban of two to three games.

Wakefield have won twice this season – against Salford and St Helens – and are currently 10th in the table.

Having got through the first block of six games with three wins, Jukes is happy with the way things are progressing.

“We knew we had to play all the teams,” said Jukes.

“But it was a real tough start so we needed to hit the ground running. When we got thumped at Castleford I told the press conference that we would sink or swim. Since then we got our heads above water and eventually, we started swimming.

“Every week we have kicked on so you could say the start has done us good.”