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Exclusive: “It paints a target on our back” – Caleb Aekins responds to Brian McDermott labelling Leigh favourites and is ready for the challenge

Leigh Centurions star signing Caleb Aekins has responded to comments made by Featherstone Rovers Head Coach Brian McDermott.

On Wednesday at the club’s Press Day, the ‘Fev’ boss stated that the Centurions are the “frontrunners” for promotion to the Betfred Super League in 2022 even though his side are also highly fancied.

With various reporters claiming “The mind games have begun”, Aekins admitted he is excited by the challenge that lays ahead.

“It kind of paints a target on our back if anything,” Aekins said.

“It adds more incentive for the other teams in the Championship to come and put a big game on against us.

“I am not too fussed with who the favourites are, I will just turn up to every game and do my job but hopefully, we can live up to it, if we are the favourites.”

Aekins arrived at Leigh from down under, having spent four seasons in the NRL between Penrith Panthers and Canberra Raiders respectively.

Having secured the number one jersey as his own, Aekins looks set for his competitive debut with the club when they host Whitehaven RLFC in the opening round of the Betfred Championship this Sunday.

Opening up on life with his new team mates as well as their first upcoming game, Aekins added, “Both Ben Reynolds and Joe Mellor are really easy guys to get along with.

“We got on really well both on and off the field so we can help each other a lot which has made it really easy for me coming in so I will just slot in where I need to be and they will help me out a lot.

“We think we are in for a tough test from Whitehaven this weekend. We expect our first few opponents will be ‘flying out’ and ready to get stuck in to us.

“We just have to get past that first 20 minutes and see how the game goes.

“We know it is going to be a bit of a ‘war’ at the start of the game but we will hopefully get past that but overall, we are really looking forward to the start of the season and to start playing rugby league again.”

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