Leigh host the league leader’s Castleford at the Leigh Sports Village in the first of today’s games live on Sky Sports. Both teams are coming off a slim victory.
LAST TIME OUT
The Centurions pulled off a surprise win against Hull FC at the KCOM Stadium on Friday night. Two tries each from Dawson and Vea clinched the win for Leigh after a nine-game losing streak. Leading 14-10 at the half-time break, Hull came back with tries from Kelly and Shaul but Leigh held on for the win. Leigh coach Neil Jukes praise the Centurions team-work after their victory. “The staff are working harder than even and sticking together is key from the top with the owner to the guys that are on the bench supporting us,” he said post-match.
Castleford were close to being at the wrong end of an upset as Widnes took a 12-10 lead into half-time and extended that lead after the break with tries from Thompson and Johnstone. The Tigers battled their way back with Minikin, Cook and Eden completing his third hat-trick in as many games. Castleford coach Daryl Powell thought it was a tough match. “Ultimately it is about winning and we got over the line so we’re pleased,” he said.
This game could be a battle of the forwards. The Centurions have a lot of strength in the pack with Paterson, Stewart, Tickle and Vea all with so much experience yet arguably have under-performed this season. After breaking their losing streak last week, this could power Leigh on to make their move up the table.
Castleford’s backs have been getting more of the plaudits this year and rightly so; all of them have really pulled their weight this year. However, their pack has also been magnificent this season, with McMeeken, Millington, Sene-Lafai and Moors all playing out of their skin.
Both teams are near to full strength with very few injury concerns. Castleford have been the team to beat this season; they’ve played entertaining rugby and have a real team camaraderie. Each player has been playing close to their full potential yet they’ve played as a team across the board. Leigh have to prove that last week’s win was not just a fluke. Unfortunately for them, Castleford have just looked so good this season that I can’t see Leigh picking up the points.
Castleford by 20.
Leigh are without Harrison Hansen, who has been an ever-present for them this season. He is replaced in the squad by Antoni Maria, who has been out since February with a pectoral injury.
Castleford welcome back rested Junior Moors and Jake Webster as well as Alex Foster whilst Andy Lynch, Gadwin Springer and Kieran Gill miss out.
Leigh (19-man): Acton, Brown, Burr, Crooks, Dawson, Drinkwater, Fleming, Hampshire, Hood, Hopkins, McNally, Maria, Paterson, Pelissier, Reynolds, Stewart, Tickle, Vea, Weston.
Castleford (19-man): Cook, Eden, Foster, Gale, Hardaker, Holmes, Larroyer, Massey, McMeeken, McShane, Millington, Minikin, Milner, Moors, Monaghan, Roberts, Sene-Lefai, Shenton, Webster.
Venue: Leigh Sports Village
Referee: Chris Kendall
Time/Date: Monday 29th May 2017, 4pm