Leigh Centurions’ prolific scoring half back Ryan Brierley face a lengthy lay off after being injured in last Sunday’s magnificent Northern Rail Cup win at Featherstone Rovers.
Centurions coach Paul Rowley says it is too early to say what the damage may be, but he will certainly be without the 15 try Brierley for this Sunday’s home clash with Keighley Cougars and the following week’s return clash with Featherstone Rovers in the Championship.
“It’s a big blow to Ryan and us,” admitted Rowley. “But these things happen in rugby.
“We will miss Ryan, his contributions this year and last have been immense. But the main thing is to get him fit again and for the team to carry on and keep winning.”
Brierley crossed for 25 tries last season and has 15 under his belt already this campaign including an 80 metre interception try last Sunday.
It was one of three such tries in the 22-12 win over last season’s beaten Finalists which Rowley says is all down to Leigh’s magnificent defensive effort.
“People are making a lot out of the fact that we scored three tries from interceptions,” he explained.
“But they were not tries snapped up through an unforced error or a spilled pass. These tries were as a result of our line speed out of defence and the pressure we put in the passer and the receiver. We had worked on this through the week as we do on a lot of games.
“Strong defence like we demonstrated really did force errors out of Featherstone and we reaped the reward for the effort we put in.
“I would settle for interception tries every week if t won games and so would any others. But the most pleasing aspect of this is that we got our just rewards.
“There were a number of other occasions when we breached Featherstone’s defence and yet all credit to them they managed to keep us at bay.
“It was a very tough, competitive game against a very good side – arguably the best in the competition.
“But we put in an 89 per cent completion rate and forced them to spill the ball with some great hits that reduced their completion rate to the 60 odd per cent mark.
“Every one of our players stood up and to win like we did was fantastic. “
Now Leigh want a home draw in the quarter finals, but before they can consider that they have the matter of a Keighley visit to the LSV to consider.
Keighley battled hard against Batley last week before going down in the final 10 minutes, but never-the-less they will arrive at the LSV full of confidence.
“I heard the post-match reaction from Paul March and he was very upbeat,” explained Rowley.
“They said they are confident of coming to Leigh and creating an upset.
“We will have to work hard to ensure that doesn’t happen.”