Drinkwater doubt for Jukes

Josh Drinkwater
Josh Drinkwater

Josh Drinkwater may not be fit to face Widnes on Saturday after he suffered a knee injury in the defeat against Wakefield.

The Australian scrum-half pulled up early in the second half and his loss badly affected Leigh’s gameplan as they surrendered a 24-12 half-time lead and eventually lost 28-24.

I really fancied us to get the result at Wakefield. Every two points is vital and I viewed the game as two points dropped

Neil Jukes

“We are still assessing Josh,” said Centurions coach Neil Jukes.

“The good news is that he didn’t suffer a fracture but I don’t know if he will make it this week.

“But we have got Martyn Ridyard ready to throw into the mix along with a few other players. Whatever happens with Josh, it won’t cripple us because we have got people to come back.

“We are not taking any risks with people but we are hoping to tick some boxes for some players - medically speaking - this week. Gregg McNally, Cory Paterson, Dayne Weston and Liam Hood have all been training well and are certainly in contention.”

Widnes have endured a miserable start to the Super League season and have just one point to their name. Despite that, Jukes is predicting a fierce battle.

“When Leigh and Widnes were both in the Championship it was always one of the highlights of the season,” he said. “I remember some great battles and a fierce rivalry between the fans and both clubs always travelled in numbers so it was a special atmosphere. Hopefully, it will be the same again on Saturday and it should be a good derby.

“They will see us an opportunity to get that first win so it’s a dangerous time to play them.”

The only point Widnes have on the board came after an away draw with Catalans Dragons.

The nature of Leigh’s defeat at Wakefield was still giving Jukes some headaches several days on. He revealed that he was unhappy with the performance of the officials and some of the decisions were still puzzling him.

“Yes, we contributed to our own downfall and the stats always show the outcome,” said Jukes. “But there were four penalties that went against us in the second half and I still don’t know what they were for.

“We didn’t handle the loss of Josh (Drinkwater). We tried to play and score every time we got the ball rather than build pressure. After the previous weeks against Huddersfield and Warrington, where we were getting betting at grinding teams down, it was really disappointing. You can’t score on every set and that’s what we were trying to do.

“I really fancied us to get the result at Wakefield. Every two points is vital and I viewed the game as two points dropped. But we have looked fresh in training this week and there’s a good mood around the place.”