Leigh are back in Super League and now go by the name of the Leigh Leopards after a bold and impressive rebrand spearheaded by Derek Beaumont.
This comes after an ultra successful season in the Championship where they won three trophies as hooker Edwin Ipape shone going on to win the Championship Player of the Year award.
He is now the favourite for the Man of Steel award in Super League and expected to devastate the top tier as the Papua New Guinea international gets his first taste of top flight ruby league and he has said it is a “dream” to play in Super League.
“It will be a dream come true for me to finally get to play my first game in Super League. I can’t wait to get there. Super League and Championship are different competitions, in Super League it will be a lot more competitive with a lot more good players so I think it will be beneficial for me.
“I want to go out there, prove myself and show I can be at the top level and consistent week in week out.
“Firstly I want to start for myself and for our team we want a good pre-season. Start strong, start on a high and see how we finish towards the backend,” Ipape said to the Sportsman as Leigh prepare for a new season with a new look, a new name and a new squad.
On this, the Leopards star said: “We’ve lost more than 10 players or so this year so with the new boys coming in I think we’ve gelled pretty well and the training camp has been going good so I think we’re ready.”
He also gave his expectations for Super League and the difference from it when compared to the Championship: “I think Championship is a bit more slow and physical whereas in Super League the game is sped p by the ref and the rook is a bit more free so I think that’s where I’ll enjoy Super League and playing at that level. There’s more talented and smart players there so I think it’s going to be great.”
In former Wigan Warriors coach Adrian Lam, he has the perfect coach to ready him for the change.
Lam is one of the underrated coaches in the game as present and has made Ipape settle in with ease: “He hasn’t said much about rugby league to me, we went out for dinner and we had chats about family and how I was doing over here so he hasn’t put any pressure on me but he expects me to be professional enough to prepare myself throughout the pre-season.”
Of course, despite the quality of Ipape and his teammates, the one talking point about Leigh has been the rebrand.
On this, he said he liked it but wanted one change to the Leopards look: “I like the colour, the colour looks good. I want the leopard to be a bit more aggressive but I like the brand change. Everything is new this year, it’s good for the club and all our fans.”