As the Super League season draws closer, we look at how newcomers Leigh Centurions will go in 2021.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
SigningsEmbed from Getty Images
Jamie Ellis, Matty Gee, Ryan Brierley, Nathaniel Peteru (all Hull KR), Adam Sidlow, Joe Mellor, Matty Russell, Blake Wallace (all Toronto Wolfpack), Ben Flower, Craig Mullen (both Wigan Warriors), Lewis Tierney (Catalans Dragons), James Bell (Toulouse Olympique), Nathan Peats (Gold Coast Titans).
Danny Addy (Salford Red Devils), Martyn Ridyard, Liam Forsyth, Sam Brooks (all Swinton Lions), Gregg McNally (Whitehaven), Ben Reynolds (Toulouse Olympique), Callum Field (Featherstone Rovers), Ryan Ince (Oldham), Brad Holroyd (Workington Town), Adam Walker (released).
Wigan Warriors (H), Warrington Wolves (A), Castleford Tigers (A), Salford Red Devils (A), St Helens (H).
WHAT TO EXPECTEmbed from Getty Images
The Centurions’ baseline this season will undoubtedly be to avoid relegation, in order to help establish themselves in the top flight. In arguably the most uncertain off-season to date, Leigh chose to execute a high turnover of players with ten players leaving the club and thirteen new additions coming to the club.
Such a high turnover of players certainly raises questions over the chemistry of the team heading into one of the hardest opening series of fixtures possible in the League, starting with a home clash against Wigan. They have recruited heavily, and unfortunately it is hard to see the point of difference – from within the majority of the incoming cohort – that they would need to better the established Super League sides.
With that said, the late signing of Nathan Peats could be a game changer for the Leigh side, with the ex-New South Wales hooker bringing bags of experience from the highest level. Still only 30-years-old, he still looks to have the necessary drive and desire to perform and consequently the quality his performances will have a large influence on the Centurions’ fortunes this season. He will, of course, have to beat Liam Hood – the only remaining player from the Centurions’ previous Super League foray – to the starting spot.
Leigh have exhibited some flashes of promise in the pre-season, beating St Helens and performing creditably against Warrington. However, the regular season is a different beast altogether and it’s highly unlikely the Centurions will get off to a good start with Wigan, Warrington, and St Helens in their first five fixtures, so they may well be facing an uphill struggle from the start. Relegation looks the most likely landing spot, though it wouldn’t be a surprise to see some upsets along the way from this clearly hungry outfit.
FEARLESS PREDICTIONSEmbed from Getty Images
Top Tryscorer – Lewis Tierney
Top Pointscorer – Jamie Ellis
Club Player of the Year – Nathan Peats