Leigh will face Huddersfield on Friday night in a fixture that has a lot of meaning to the home side. In the qualifiers last season, the Centurions faced the Giants at the Leigh Sports Village and ran out 48-40 victors which secured them automatic promotion to Super League.
Neil Jukes side come into this game off the back of a 20-0 away loss against the Wigan Warriors. They will hope to improve on their display against the champions where they were impressive in defence but lacklustre moving forward. Jukes said of the game: “We hung in there with our defence but we put too much pressure on ourselves with the ball. We didn’t challenge them, and when we did get field position we dropped it on play one or play two.”
The Giants could be boosted in their hopes against the Centurions with the return of five senior players to the squad for the game in Leigh. Jermaine McGillvary, Leroy Cudjoe, and Aaron Murphy return from injury, whilst Ukuma Ta’ai has completed his suspension and returns for the trip to the North West. Dale Ferguson doesn’t make a return after his groin injury but Huddersfield are in much stronger shape as they head to the Leigh Sports Village.
Stone said of their injuries so far: “I’ve never experienced it this early in the season. It is quite a significant situation to have, we finished the Warrington game in the friendly and at that stage we only had Jake Mamo missing.” Stone added: “He was the only one that wasn’t available so things have changed pretty significantly for us and definitely not for the better.” Huddersfield’s injury plagued season so far has them sat on two wins and two losses from four games and shows that they have dealt with the situation well thus-far.
Leigh Squad: Brown, Higson, Crooks, Dawson, Ridyard, Drinkwater, Hock, Higham, Weston, Hansen, Pelissier, Tickle, Vea, Hampshire, Reynolds, Green, Hopkins, Acton, Burr.
Huddersfield Squad: McGillvary, Cudjoe, Gaskell, Murphy, Brough, Brierley, Rapira, Hinchcliffe, Wakeman, Leeming, Ikahihifo, Roberts, Ta’ai, Clough, Smith, Ormsby, Dickinson, McIntosh.
Referee: C Campbell
Touch-judges: C Sharrad and G Jones