LEIGH boss Paul Rowley has promised there’s more to come from his new-look Centurions after a sensational opening day win over last season’s beaten Grand Finalists Batley Bulldogs.
Rowley was understandably delighted with the way Leigh powered past one of the Championship’s most consistent sides on their way to a 52-12 win on Sunday.
But he believes there is still room for improvement from a squad which features so many new signings.
“Yes, we scored some fantastic tries and I was delighted with the performance,” said Rowley.
“But the opening day results show how much strength there is in this competition with Dewsbury beating Featherstone and North Wales Crusaders winning against Barrow.
“We will need to keep improving and find a level of consistency to get where we want to be in this league.
“After the friendlies I spoke about the progress we were making and areas we needed to work on and I think we saw those improvements against Batley.
“You could see some desire in that shirt and I think we sent a clear message out to our rivals.
“Sometimes it’s about having the guts and energy to play like we did against Batley.
“It takes bottle and skill. I am glad we did it and entertained the fans but now we need to kick on. We wanted to send Batley away with nothing and we spoke about not letting them have a bonus point.”
On Sunday, Leigh go to Barrow a side coached by former Leigh hooker Anthony Murray. He is someone Rowley knows well.
“Anthony has tremendous enthusiasm,” said Rowley. “People buy into what he is doing because he’s such a likable character.
“Barrow will have lots of belief and will be enjoying playing for Anthony.
“We need to dampen that enthusiasm because they are a dogged team that won’t go away.
“They have got some fantastic players like Liam Harrison and players with a lot to prove.
“It’s difficult to know what teams are like at this stage of the season. We go there looking to build on what we did against Batley. We will play the way we need to beat them and I expect it will be really, really tough.”
Leigh’s on loan forward Kurt Haggerty will be unavailable to play against his parent club on Sunday. Likewise, the three Centurions on loan at Barrow – Chris Rowe, Joe Bullock and Craig Briscoe –won’t be able to play against Leigh. Haggerty’s enforced absence offers an opportunity for Jamie Acton or Martin Aspinwall to come into the 17.
Leigh have a slight injury doubt over Tommy Goulden who suffered a shoulder injury against Batley.
“We have got strength in depth so Jamie and Martin missed out against Batley,” said Rowley. “But that’s the good thing about our squad size in 2014 – we have pressure on players to keep their shirt.
“I was happy with last year’s squad – it was the size of it that needed addressing.
“When you have so many new players it takes time to gel but we have already seen what we are capable of.
“The new players are getting used to how I want them to play.”