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BETFRED CHAMPIONSHIP | Who makes the Qualifiers? | Leigh Centurions

The Betfred Championship season is entering its final four weeks. Toronto Wolfpack currently sit proudly at the top of the table with 35 points from 19 games, with a spot in the Qualifiers now secured.

Below them, the battle for the final three places could not be tighter. Over the next week, we will be looking at the teams eager to secure one of the final three spots, including their form, star men and remaining fixtures- today’s look is at the Leigh Centurions.

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Leigh Centurions History

Founded in 1878 Leigh were one of the original 22 clubs who formed the original Northern Football Union in 1895. They have been League Champions twice in their history (1906 & 1982) and have also won the Rugby League Challenge Cup twice as well in 1921 and 1971.

The club was simply known as Leigh up until the 1995-96 season when it adopted the name of the Centurions.

Stand Out Player Past or Present

The most famous player ever grace the Leigh uniform has to be the great Alex Murphy OBE. Born in 1939, Alex James Murphy made 118 appearances for Leigh between 1966-71, with his greatest moment being when he played at scrum half In front of 85,514 fans as a player-coach.

Against the odds, he guided Leigh to victory in the 1971 Rugby League Challenge Cup Final at Wembley.

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He would go on to have a successful full time coaching career, with distinguished stints at Warrington, Salford, Wigan, Leigh, St. Helens and finally Huddersfield.

Murphy would also represent his country, being capped for Great Britain 26 times and England twice. In addition, he also represented Lancashire at county level 14 times, scoring 12 tries.

Current Form

Leigh had what could only be described as a torrid start to their championship campaign, as they lost five of their first six games and also have to cope with the departure of head coach Neil Jukes.

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With the appointment of Kieron Purtill, they produced a gutsy 8-4 victory over Batley at Mount Pleasant and would then go on a tear winning their next 10 games in a row, beating some of their fellow top six challengers.

This included successes over London Broncos twice, Featherstone Rovers, Halifax and gutting out narrow two-point victory in Toulouse. The only loss in that run came against rivals Toronto Wolfpack in that nail biting encounter at the Championship Summer bash.

Looking Ahead

With only four weeks of the regular season remaining, Leigh Centurions will take on four teams in the bottom half of the table.

After a tricky and disappointing defeat at the hands of Toronto last week, the Centurions will need a near perfect set of results to keep their top four charge alive.

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The remaining games give the Centurions the perfect opportunity to put points on the board and cement their spot in the Qualifiers, but will other results go their way and pave the path for Purtill and co?

A start to Regret?

With the most to lose after a season that started with so much promise, will the terrible start to the season be Leigh Centurions final undoing?

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As the players have said themselves, every game from now on is a cup final. After Leigh’s fans have flown home and started to prepare for this week’s clash with Batley, the realisation of what they need to do is clear; one would imagine that nothing less than eight ladder points from eight will suffice.

Originally from the Rugby League heartlands I grew up watching Wigan RL on the terraces at Central Park. After moving to Canada my rugby was restricted to sporadic showings on Canadian TV or on trips home to visit the UK as i now call Canada home. After the announcement of the Toronto Wolfpack i have made many new friends because of this great sport and look forward to following this team on it quest to get to the promised land and join my childhood team Wigan at the top.

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