Leigh Gossip

Leigh's Ryan Brierley
Leigh's Ryan Brierley

Leigh Centurions have their sights set on a top two finish, but they need to beat Halifax on Friday night to have a chance of realising their dream – without top scoring stand-off Ryan Brierley.

The 20-year-old half-back has been recalled to the Castleford side to play at St Helens on Friday night, to replace the suspended Jamie Ellis, and he will be a big loss to the Leigh side. But that is not unduly worrying coach Paul Rowley.

“Our destiny is in our hands,” said Rowley. “If we keep winning, then I have always thought we can finish second. To think third would mean factoring in a defeat, and we are not in the business of doing that.

“Having said that we know that Halifax is yet another game that will now present our stiffest challenge of the season so far. They arrive as Northern Rail Cup winners, and are arguably the form team of the competition at this point in time.

“They are a side packed with talent, coached superbly by my old teammate Karl Harrison, and they will be arriving, desperate to put an end to a record that has seen us beat them three times so far this season.

“We know what we have to do, and in recent years, every one of our games against Halifax has turned into a classic in some way or other. The fact that it will be a tough, tight game goes without saying, and we will have to be at our very best to win this and maintain the course that we have set.

“The loss of Ryan is a blow, but these things happen. He could be out injured and we would have to do without then. What it does do is make us examine our options and look to give others a chance.

“Thankfully, we have a fully fit squad, with the exception of Rob Parker, as we came through last week’s win at Keighley unscathed. We will just get on with the job we have to do.”

Leigh are hoping that they do retain front row forward Tom Spencer, as his form has been terrific, but that is something that has also not been lost on Wigan Warriors coach Shaun Wane, who is also aware of the performances of his dual-registered player.

Leigh have games at home to Keighley and then away to Swinton to complete their scheduled League games ahead of the play-offs, and if they beat Halifax, and win their remaining games, they would climb above the Yorkshire side, who have one remaining game to play against Batley on September 2.

“It’s certainly do-able,” said Paul. “But it’s up to us. We need to win Friday night, and, hopefully, the fans will get behind us in their numbers to cheer us on and make it like a cup final atmosphere.”