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EXTENDED PREVIEW – Dewsbury Rams v Leigh Centurions

It’s 4th place versus 1st place at the Tetley’s Stadium this weekend as Leigh Centurions visit West Yorkshire to take on Glenn Morrison’s Dewsbury Rams. Both teams won their respective round 10 match-ups so confidence will be high in both camps.

Last Time Out

Dewsbury moved into 4th place last weekend, a just reward for being the first team to conquer London Broncos in their own back yard. The Rams travelled back to West Yorkshire with a tight 20-16 triumph under their belts. Nothing could separate the two sides going into half-time, tries from Ben Hellewell and Karl Pryce for London and Dewsbury respectively were the only scoring acts of a tightly contested first half at The Hive. Callan Beckett put Dewsbury in front for the first time in the match on the 42nd minute, but Iliess Macani soon levelled the scores with a try in the 51st minute. Macani would also score another try, in the 79th minute, but it turned out to be a consolation for the Broncos. A penalty goal from Kieran Hyde edged the visitors in front before Aaron Brown extended the Rams’ lead to eight points as the loose forward exploited a big gap in London’s defence. The Macani try a minute before time gave Andrew Henderson’s side a fighting chance but it wasn’t to be, ultimately being defeated for the first time on home turf this season.

Leigh Centurions, to put it simply, had too much for Batley Bulldogs to handle last Sunday. Paul Rowley’s men beat John Kear’s side 56-8, and the hosts were 18-0 up after seven minutes due to an early brace from Ryan Brierley and a score from winger Liam Kay. Shaun Ainscough replied with a try of his own, courtesy of some good assist play from Cain Southernwood and Shaun Squires. Adam Higson was the next player on the scoresheet for Leigh, going over the whitewash on 19 minutes. Tom Armstrong, Jonathan Pownall and Brierley again rounded up the scoring for the first half of play. In the second half, Higson, Pownall and Andrew Dixon all touched down before Batley replied with a consolation score in the dying embers through Matty Fozard.

Key Battle

There was an all new half-back pairing on show for Dewsbury against London. New loan signing from Whitehaven, Brett Seymour, started at stand-off alongside regular scrum-half Anthony Thackeray. A 20-16 victory will have helped the understanding of both halves, but there’s a big challenge on the horizon for the pair, and their team as a whole. Martyn Ridyard and Ryan Brierley have been running the Leigh show for the last couple of years, and week-by-week they’ve been tearing teams apart with their organisation and playmaking. Ridyard is the one with major guile, the awareness to pin a team in their own half with deep kicks while Brierley is the maverick, fleet-footed and last year’s top try scorer in the Kingstone Press Championship. The battle of the half-backs will be intriguing to watch pan out at the weekend, there’s a good potential balance in the Rams halves but Leigh are settled and are on a 22 win streak at the moment.

Prediction

The Leigh machine will have to be stopped at some point in the future, but Paul Rowley’s side will be wanting to carry on their impressive win streak this Sunday. Dewsbury pose a tough threat for the current Championship champions, with a tough pack, nifty backs and steady half-backs. On home turf as well, they’ll be backing themselves to give anyone a game especially if you take into account they’re one of the two teams (Leigh are the other!) to have beaten Sheffield Eagles this season, who are currently in 3rd place. Despite being a tough fixture to call beforehand, Leigh may just take the game away from Dewsbury in the final quarter – Leigh by 16

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