Centurions’ preparations for the 2014 Kingstone Press Championship continue this weekend when they play not one but two friendlies at the Leigh Sports Village.
The first is on Friday night when they face the might of the reinvigorated Salford Red Devils. And on Sunday afternoon they welcome newly promoted Championship club North Wales Crusaders for a 2pm kickoff.
With just a five-day turnaround since the players took on Wigan, it is going to be a pretty demanding time for the Centurions but coach Paul Rowley says it is all part of the preparation.
“With the demand for pre-season games, you sometimes have to play your friendlies when clubs are available and that is what has happened with Salford,” he explained.
“But the chance to play two Super League sides and even add some pressure through the short turnaround is going to benefit the players as they look to prepare themselves for the new season.
“Salford will arrive on Friday night determined to impress their owner Dr Marwan Koukash and coach Brian Noble, and they will give us yet another stiff test. We will use pretty much the same players as played against Wigan, with Bob Beswick being our only likely absentee as he took a knock. Gregg McNally too could be out but we will wait and see. Certainly Michel Ostick, Sean Penkywicz , Jonathan Pownall and Mick Govin are not going to be considered at this stage. But that still leaves plenty of players to stake their claims.
“The game against North Wales will be mostly our Under-20s players with a couple of more senior players who may need the time, but with them having been promoted last season, that is going to be a tough game too.”
Of course, the pre-season warm up games are essential, and Leigh have a game against Warrington the following weekend before the season commences on February 16.
Salford will arrive with their big-name signings Rangi Chase, Tim Smith, Adrian Morley, Harrison Hansen etc determined to make their mark as the club look to push for the play-offs this season.
But when reflecting upon the Wigan match, Rowley obviously had mixed feelings. He said: “There were some high and some lows.
“There as the spell after half time when we weren’t able to get a hold of the ball for 17 minutes as Wigan completed 13 sets, But then we managed to complete the next 13 ourselves, so that was good.”