Leigh reserves skipper Matt sets sights on Super League

Leigh reserves captain Matthew Pendlebury. Photo: Brian King
Leigh reserves captain Matthew Pendlebury. Photo: Brian King

LEIGH reserves captain Matt Pendlebury says he dreams of playing in Super League.

Speaking ahead of Friday night’s U20s Grand Final against Sheffield at the Sports Village, Pendlebury says his team-mates all want to follow in the footsteps of Cameron Pitman who went from reserve grader to first team regular this season.

“I’d love to go and play Super League one day” said Pendelbury whose dad Gary and uncle John both played first team football for Leigh.

“It’s all a case of taking your chance when it comes. It’s my dream. Both Gary and John have influenced me, my dad more so.

“He’s guided me throughout my career, told me where I needed to improve, told me a few home truths when they were needed, listened to me on occasions when I’ve felt down. Coming back from injury he’s been there for me with lots of help and advice.”

Pendelbury has recovered from a shoulder injury in time to play in the showpiece game on Friday.

“The problem was a cartilage in my shoulder but it’s all fixed now,” he said. “I’ve come back from it really well and felt strong.

“This season has been really good. We’ve got a good set of lads and a great coaching staff. We’ve had lots of first teamers playing as well and their attitude has been spot-on.

“Paul Rowley has put a really strong side and squad together and so that means a few of the squad have played reserves. They’ve been a big part of the season- players like Martin Aspinwall, who’s played a lot of Super League, Steve Maden and so on. Jamie Acton was in the 20s recently and put in a Man of the Match performance. Ryan Duffy and Cameron Pitman are two others who have done really well.”

Reserves coach Paul Anderson has guided Leigh to the top of their league, losing just once and scoring more than 1,000 points along the way.

“We’ve had no superstars, just a great team ethic,” said Pendlebury. “We’ve all mucked in together and played some nice rugby. It’s going to be outstanding to play at the LSV.

“We played there against Sheffield Eagles in the curtain raiser to the Keighley game and all the players really enjoyed it. It was a great experience, we soaked it all up and it made us want to be the best we could. The Grand Final, under floodlights, will be fantastic and hopefully we’ll get a good crowd cheering us on and creating a good atmosphere.”

Friday’s game kicks off at 8pm.