Last season this was a Super League clash and the way Leigh are playing in the Championship so far this season it may well be once again in 2023 and what better way for Leigh to lay down a marker than a good performance against the Robins in the cup.
In Leigh’s best Championship seasons they made a habit of surprising Super League sides even making the quarter-finals in 2014 and pushing eventual winners Leeds in that particular outing. In the past, Caleb Aekins has said that he believes the Centurions can do something similar in 2022, and against Hull KR they have the perfect chance.
As for the Robins, a side capable of beating anyone on their day, they may well be built to get to the later rounds of the cup in 2022. A dangerous side, could they go all the way to the final?
For Hull KR there’s still no Lachlan Coote however Ben Crooks could be in line for his first appearance of the season. Albert Vete has dropped out of last week’s 21-man squad as Kane Linnett returns. There’s no place for Will Tate in the 21. Matt Parcell will return having missed last week through illness.
Leigh’s major loss this week is James Bell. The on loan loose-forward who plied his trade at Leigh last season has been recalled by Champions St Helens but is also suffering from a shoulder injury according to Kristian Woolf. Mark Ioane and James McDonnell have also dropped out of the 21-man squad.
Match Preview – Key Battles:
Will Dagger vs Caleb Aekins: One of the Championship’s most exciting players, Caleb Aekins, will be hoping to catch the eye in attack against the Robins. He’ll be up against the trusted Will Dagger. Always reliable cover for Lachlan Coote, Dagger will produce a solid performance as he looks to foil Aekins’ threat.
Shaun Kenny-Dowall vs Nene MacDonald: Nene MacDonald has grabbed the headlines in recent weeks with some outstanding performances for the Championship having been a superb find this season. Stirring interest in Super League, a stand out performance here will lay down a marker but he’ll have to out shine one of the top centres in the league in the experienced and powerful Shaun Kenny-Dowall who will be hoping to lead his side to victory.
George King vs Adam Sidlow: Two underrated forwards in the 2021 Super League season meet head to head as both look to dominate the middle of the field. Two grafters capable of leaving a real impression on a game, this should be an intriguing battle.
Where the game will be won and lost:
Both Hull KR and Leigh have eye-catching attacks. This perhaps gives Hull KR the edge as the Super League side and a team who made the play-offs last year. If their attack clicks they may end Leigh’s chances of going far in the competition. However, if the Centurions can restrict Hull KR’s attack and ensure their pack and nines don’t get a roll on down the middle, their attack has the capability of catching the Robins off guard making for what should be an exciting clash.
Score Prediction: Hull KR 36-22 Leigh Centurions