Jukes: We were taught a lesson

Mickey High celebrates his try against Batley. Photo: Brian King
Mickey High celebrates his try against Batley. Photo: Brian King

NEIL Jukes admitted that his side was shown “how to play the conditions” in their 24-22 loss to the Batley Bulldogs at the weekend.

“There were no surprises whatsoever. We spoke about defending their good ball, their short side plays and their kicks were a big danger and those two areas hurt us throughout and that’s what’s probably most disappointing,” he said.

“I thought in the first half we didn’t do ourselves justice with the ball. We came up with some soft plays and didn’t kick well enough. It was the simple things we needed to address and then straight after half-time we put in something like nine completed sets from 11.

“Our first five sets were particularly positive and we went ten points up, up the hill, against the wind. Then in the last 20, we just didn’t continue what we did in that first 20 of the second half.

“All of a sudden we were on the back of four penalties, again some soft errors and we gave them field position and we said that if they got in that last thirty or forty, they would always kick it up to Rangi and they created a lot of pressure on the back of that, so yes, disappointed. Disappointed because I think it’s the simple things that we didn’t do great.

“We’ve got to work together.”

Leigh have a chance to recover quickly from their opening day setback when they host Oldham at Leigh Sports Village on Sunday. Oldham gave London Broncos a real game in the first half and only trailed 4-0 at half-time before a three try scoring burst handed the Londoners a 22-0 victory.

Jukes added: “Every team we play is going to be a Grand Final, every neutral probably wants us to lose, which is fine, but we have to deal with it, go to places such as Batley and keep it simple - play direct and when we do that we give ourselves a chance.”

“On review there were some good areas in that twenty but we weren’t consistent enough in doing that.”

Promoted Oldham have several players to look out for, such as Leythers Lewis Palfrey and Tom Ashton and former Centurions Adam Clay, Craig Briscoe and Jack Holmes.

Sunday could see a debut for Lee Smith, who signed for the club following a successful trial at Hull. The two time Grand Final winner with Leeds will ease fullback worries for the Centurions with Jukes commenting on his first capture as Leigh boss, “Lee was a player that I looked at with Paul. When he played against us in the eights for Wakefield there were no real frailties around his game. He came in for the weekend and worked with our non-playing members and from speaking to him and people around the game, it suggests that he is pretty low maintenance and his CV speaks for itself.”