Supporters are key to success

Wigan's Sam Tomkins is tackled by John O'Donnell and James Taylor in the Challenge Cup game  at the DW Stadium
Wigan's Sam Tomkins is tackled by John O'Donnell and James Taylor in the Challenge Cup game at the DW Stadium

LEIGH Centurions prepare for yet another crucial clash this Sunday when high-flying Batley Bulldogs are the visitors to the LSV in the Kingstone Championship.

But despite a week in which Paul Rowley will be keeping his fingers crossed he can get five of his key players fit for this vital game, the Leigh coach is hoping that the fans will turn out in force to give the Centurions the same type of magnificent support that they gave them in last weekend’s Tetley Challenge Cup clash at Wigan.

“The fans were fantastic,” said Paul. “They never stopped singing and that really gave our lads a lift. We may have conceded 11 tries, but 10 of them were on the flanks which indicates the tremendous amount of work we put in defensively.

“Yes we conceded out wide, but the Wigan skill levels were there for all to see and they really worked hard to engineer their tries through good handling and support play.

“But on attack we crossed their whitewash five times only for two to count. I don’t think another Super League side has managed that this season and that indicates that we are doing something right to break them down like that.

“But having said all that, it was the buzz that the fans gave our lads through their magnificent support that really helped us keep going even though were playing three walking wounded from the early stages of the game. Steve Maden got injured in the first minute but kept going, Matt Gardner played around 30 minutes before his injury became too much to carry on and Jimmy Taylor suffered another head knock.

“We had a bare 17 available going into this and a couple of players carrying knocks ahead of the game. The commitment and courage they showed was magnificent and shows their dedication and desire for this club.”

Unfortunately it was Leigh’s second successive 60-10 defeat, yet the scoreline was where the similarity ended as far as Rowley was concerned.

“The two performances were at completely opposite ends of the spectrum,” he says. “We were flat after the Halifax game and got what we deserved for a very poor performance. But against Wigan we demonstrated that we do have a desire and passion for the club and the fans and came off with plenty of positives that we need to take forward into next Sunday’s game.”

And what a game that promises to be as second placed Batley arrive at the LSV, fired by a cracking display in the cup that almost saw them take the scalp of Huddersfield Giants.

“They will be really bolstered by that and it will have given a very confident side a further boots,” said Paul. “But we will not be fazed by that. We want to win this game and put more daylight between us and the sixth placed club, and try and close the gap on that second or third spot. That is our goal and we haven’t lost sight of that.

“Yes we have a few injuries and Tommy Goulden, Jonathan Powell and Bob Beswick’s hamstrings are a cause of concern. We need the fans to turn out in their numbers, as they did last week, to give us the same sort of support that will help us raise our game and keep the pressure on those sides we are playing. The fans can really cheer us on to success.”