Millward: So much to build on

Two down and one to go!

Leigh Centurions have beaten Salford City Reds and lost to Warrington Wolves, and on Sunday they play their third and final game against Super League opposition when Harlequins are the visitors to the Leigh Sports Village.

It’s Leigh’s third and final warm up game ahead of their season starting in earnest when they travel to Batley on Sunday, February 6, and coach Ian Millward is more than happy with the way the preparation is going.

“I was really pleased with the performance against Warrington,” he said. “Warrington are going to be one of the teams to beat this season, and there were times last Sunday when we had them on the rack, while defending really well against their attacks.

“Yes they did post 10 tries against us in the end, but a good number were from kicks on the back of a superb kicking game from their halves, and we made a few errors of our own as we were put under the type of pressure that we have not faced before.

“But having said all that I thought we were unlucky to be 24-6 down at half time. That score didn’t reflect the first half, and as we started to change our side around, inevitably we lost some of our cohesion which the quality in the Warrington side were able to exploit.

“We scrambled well though and it was a really encouraging performance against top quality opposition.”

Now Leigh will look to take lessons learned against Salford and then Warrington into the game against Harlequins which kicks off at 3pm this Sunday.

“We had a blackboard session after the game while things were fresh in the players minds” added Millward.

“I wanted the players reflect and remember whilst things were still fresh in their minds. They all did well, but each week we must look to improve and build on what we learn.”

Leigh’s competitiveness was tempered by an early injury to Steve Nash, a player who missed most of last season through injury, and who is looking for a big season with Leigh this campaign.

“I was gutted for Steve,” added Millward. “He has been going well in training and I was playing him in the second row. He was looking really good until he pulled a hamstring. That will keep him out of the Harlequins game, but we are hopeful he will be good for Batley.”

Millward is looking to play the same squad of players against Harlequins with Andy Gorski and Adam Higson being added after missing the Warrington game with slight injuries.

“I want my players to get game time and be ready to hit the ground running when we head to Batley,” confirmed Millward. “They knocked us out of the Northern Rail Cup last year and we know just how tough it will be on their ground. It is important we best utilise these warm up games to maximise our potential as the season starts in earnest.”

With regard to the squad and the position of former Widnes forward David Mills, Millward says that is up to the board.

“David is trialling with us, and he worked hard in his time on the pitch against Warrington,” he revealed. “We have Harlequins and then we will have a chat with David and make a decision after that.

“It’s important we start to use this final preparation game to build our focus for the season ahead. Harlequins will be a tough test for us as they have a new coach and new players all keen and eager to impress.

“Every penny goes to Leigh Centurions and hopefully we can get the fans to turn out in force and cheer us on as we finalise our preparation for a long tough season.”