In-form Centurions enjoy view from the top

Leigh's Ryan Brierley celebrates scoring five tries against Barrow with Gregg McNally photobombing
Leigh's Ryan Brierley celebrates scoring five tries against Barrow with Gregg McNally photobombing

Leigh coach Paul Rowley likes the look of the Kingstone Press Championship right now.

After two big wins against Batley and Barrow, Centurions top the table but there’s still room for improvement according to Rowley.

“Yes, we’ve had a good start and I’m happy with the results,” said Rowley.

“We have played well and done the little things right. Now the challenge is to keep working hard and there are still certain areas of our game where I believe we can make big improvements.”

Leigh aim to make it three wins in a row when Whitehaven visit the Sports Village on Sunday.

They are a team that Rowley rates highly and capable of making an impact at the top of the Championship in 2014.

“Whitehaven have the potential to do really well this season because they have recruited heavily and added some experience,” said Rowley. “Like us, they have a much bigger squad than last year and have some quality players like Lee Doran, Lee Mitchell and Shaun Ainscough.

“It’s a side full of quality and one which will test us on Sunday. I expect them to make the play-offs quite comfortably this season.”

For the second game running, Leigh ran up 52 points in their demolition of Barrow on Sunday.

“Barrow got bonus points against us last year,” said Rowley. “History shows we have struggled here and it’s always a tough away game.

“We were delighted with the scoreline. We played very low risk in the first half against Barrow but we had a very good shape and created options.

“We went big in the forwards and I thought we were pretty bruising in our defence.”

Ryan Brierley scored five tries at Barrow – adding to the hat-trick he got against Batley a week earlier.

Brierley was one away from equalling the Leigh club record of six tries in a game which is jointly held by Jack Wood and Neil Turley.

“I was aware of the record when I got to five,” said Brierley. “The bench was telling me I needed another to equal it but I was just happy for us to record the win.”

Rowley added: “Ryan wasn’t just on the end of things, he created tries and opportunities for others.

“He showed his maturity as a player and is developing all the time.”

It was only the 17th occasion when a Leigh player has scored five in a match. Jack Wood became the first Leigh player to score six tries in a game, against York in 1947. He also kicked eight goals in Leigh’s 60-7 victory.

Neil Turley equalled Wood’s try-scoring feat when he scored six tries against Workington Town in 2001. Turley also scored five tries in a game on four separate occasions.