Leigh Centurions vs Leeds Rhinos: Preview

Leigh Centurions vs Leeds Rhinos: Preview

Leigh Centurions host their first Super League game for over a decade when they take on Leeds Rhinos in a game rearranged due to earlier involvement in the Challenge Cup. Both teams will be looking to pick up their first wins of the new season at Leigh Sports Village.

Leigh Centurions – Team news and form

Leigh could welcome back Micky Higham after he missed out on the opening weekend defeat to Castleford with a minor injury issue. Former Australian international Willie Tonga returns and will be looking for a big impact in the centres. However, Neil Jukes will be without Martyn Ridyard and the highly impressive Glenn Stewart due to injuries picked up against the Tigers.

The 44-16 defeat against Castleford was a tough start for life back in the top flight for the Centurions but they did show some sharpness in attack and ability with the ball. A lack of defensive cohesion will a big worry though as they had a major lapse of concentration that saw them leak four tries, without mustering a response before it was too late. Once Leigh found their feet they troubled Castleford and they did keep in the arm wrestle for most of the game, minus that costly lapse.

Leeds Rhinos – Team news and form

The Rhinos welcome back captain Danny McGuire after he missed the narrow defeat to Saints as a precautionary measure. Jack Ormondroyd could possibly make his Super League debut after missing out last week. In terms of injuries, Brett Delaney again misses out and Joel Moon – try scorer last week – will be absent with concussion.

Brian McDermott’s side were beaten by two points in their opening game against St Helens despite a defensively-inspired performance by Ashton Golding. They were blunt in attack and lacked cohesion in the final third, but defensively they were very good. The Rhinos should find it easier breaking Leigh down than they did Saints, but their kicking game and decision making at vital times needs to be better when attacking.

Ones to watch and where the game will be won

Much like any game that has players of great quality involved, it’s difficult to pick just one from each team. For Leigh, I would have said Martyn Ridyard had he not been injured. However, I feel the returning Micky Higham could be one to keep a keen eye on as he marks his return from injury. His experience is vital for the Centurions to hopefully get a Super League victory on home soil.

Matt Parcell could be pivotal in gaining a much-needed win for the Rhinos. The battle at hooker sees a young, fast talent against an old, experienced campaigner which should be worth the admission money alone. Ashton Golding will also look to improve in attack to match his defensive capabilities and get Leeds the victory to get their season going.

The game will be won from the ruck, as both teams are great in attack if they win that early collision and play-the-ball. Speed in this instance is everything, and both teams can’t be messing about trying to milk penalties.

19-man squads

Leigh Centurions: Jamie Acton, Mitch Brown, Lachlan Burr, Ben Crooks, Matty Dawson, Josh Drinkwater, Ryan Hampshire, Harrison Hansen, Micky Higham, Adam Higson, Gareth Hock, Sam Hopkins, Antoni Maria, Corey Paterson, Eloi Pelissier, Ben Reynolds, Danny Tickle, Willie Tonga and Atelea Vea.

Leeds Rhinos: Carl Ablett, Tom Briscoe, Rob Burrow, Adam Cuthbertson, Mitch Garbutt, Ashton Golding, Ryan Hall, Jamie Jones-Buchanan, Jimmy Keinhorst, Danny McGuire, Joel Moon, Anthony Mullally, Jack Ormondroyd, Matt Parcell, Brad Singleton, Liam Sutcliffe, Josh Walters, Stevie Ward and Kallum Watkins.

Prediction: Centurions 18-34 Rhinos