Leigh forward Jake Emmitt is not taking the visit of Doncaster in the first week of the Kingstone Press Championship play-offs on Sunday (3.00pm) lightly as the Centurions begin their quest for the League Leaders’ Shield and Grand Final double.
The Centurions have enjoyed a memorable campaign so far, winning 25 of their 26 league fixtures and reaching the quarter-final of the Challenge Cup, where they were narrowly beaten by Leeds Rhinos.
Their only league defeat in 2014 came at the hands of play-off opposition Doncaster, and Emmitt is well aware of the dangers that Paul Cooke’s team pose.
“Doncaster are a good side,” said Emmitt. “They had a bit of a dip in form against Batley Bulldogs, who were fighting for their play-off place. They have a lot of players we have to keep an eye on. We will not be taking them lightly.
“We have had tricky games in our last two matches and our defence has been really strong – we have gained confidence from our defence in the last two games.
“It is a bit of a Catch 22 – if you have an easy game prior to the play-offs then you can go into the play-offs underdone, but you have tough games then you could find it tough in the play-offs.
“We have to be ready for knockout rugby – we have got what we wanted from the league campaign.”
With Leigh’s dominance of the second tier and the new league structure set to come into force in 2015 – and the prospect of promotion to the top flight – Emmitt believes that there is excitement building around Leigh.
“Leigh is a club that is moving forward,” said Emmitt. “These are exciting times for us. There is a massive feelgood factor around the place, and the whole way the club is run is fantastic.
“We feel like we are moving in the right direction. There is good camaraderie around the town and the feeling that we are building something special.”
Tickets for the Leigh Centurions v Doncaster Kingstone Press Championship qualifying play-off at Leigh Sports Village on Sunday (3.00pm) can be purchased from as little as £16 for adults, £10 for concessions with juniors free.