Connect with us

Super League

Long Read Interview: Matt Davis

Last week Derek Beaumont laid down a marker to the rest of Super League with 10 huge signings as he rebranded the Leigh Centurions as the Leigh Leopards.

Among those 10 were a quintet of high-profile Warrington Wolves men including the criminally underrated Matt Davis who has shown his quality in climbing up the leagues all the way to becoming a Challenge Cup Final winner with Warrington in 2019.

On joining the Leopards, Davis exclusively told Serious About Rugby League just how excited he is by the move: “I’m really excited to become a Leigh player and rip into pre-season with the boys.

“It’s a big opportunity for me to play my best rugby and work hard to achieve big things with the club.”

Of course, a major talking point has been the rebranding which has divided opinion.

However, Davis is well on board with the move and believes it’s a sign of the exponential growth the club has with “good things” happening at Leigh Sports Village.

He said: “I think the rebranding is a great idea and to be a part of the new era with the Leopards is something special.

“The ideas surrounding the rebranding are all really positive and in place to build the club, I can see already that a lot of good things are happening. ”

But why did Davis choose to join Leigh? For Davis, however, it was always Leigh despite interest from other clubs and this was all down to a conversation with Leigh’s Director of Rugby Chris Chester.

“A few clubs were interested in potentially signing me,” Davis said, “But I had a great chat with Chris Chester early on in May and he outlined the potential Leigh as a club had so I was pretty much set on signing with the Leopards early.”

Picture by Allan McKenzie/ – Davis has joined Leigh Leopards on a two-year deal

Davis is one of many major signings made by the club alongside the other four Warrington stars as well as the likes of Zak Hardaker and Ricky Leutele.

Davis believes that these signings are a major statement of what Leigh can achieve in 2023: “I think the playing squad is a statement and I’m sure it’s raised a few eyebrows. I think there’s no end to what the Leopards can achieve in 23, it’s a massive year for the club and it’s down to us boys to build connections and work hard together to win games.”

The forward then went into more detail on how it will feel playing alongside four of his teammates from his time at Warrington while in a Leopards shirt come the start of the 2023 season.

“I signed a deal with Leigh back in May and I’m pretty sure the other boys were around that sort of time as well which made it all the more special,” said Davis.

“I’ve ripped in with these boys for years and I know how hard-working and talented they are so I’m really looking forward to what we can all bring in a new team with a different mindset and philosophy.”

It was no doubt a big call for Davis to leave Warrington. The forward spent four seasons with the Wolves, developing into a top Super League forward and claiming a Challenge Cup winners’ medal.

Explaining his departure, he said: “I really enjoyed my first few years at the Wire, we had some massive wins including the 2019 Challenge Cup Final and pushing for top two in the league most seasons.

“I felt like I worked really hard to play regularly in the team amongst some world class international players week in week out. With the changes of the 2022 season I felt like the club wasn’t a good fit for me anymore.

“I met some legends of blokes along the way and have great memories at the club that I won’t forget and wish them all the best for the future.

“But nothing lasts forever and although I will always look back at my time at Warrington with fondness, I’m fully focused on producing my best with Leigh now.”

Davis concluded by giving his thoughts on what he thinks Leigh can achieve next season as he described the Super League competition as ‘open’ heading into the new season.

“The club has big aims, the signings show that,” said Davis. “I just think Super League is open next season, it is full of great teams, but there is no reason why we can’t push for the top half of the league.

“Derek has worked really hard with getting this squad right. To get to where he and the club is now, in terms of the playing squad, you can see he’s hard to work very hard and get the timings right.

“I don’t want to put too much pressure on ourselves but I think there is a pretty strong argument to say this is the strongest squad that has ever come into Super League from the Championship.

“You look at some of the players in our team and it’s quite incredible really when you think this is a newly-promoted team. I still think Zak Hardaker is one of the best players in the competition and to say he will be playing for the team that has come up from the Championship is pretty insane.

“So yeah, like I say, I think we have to be amitious and push for the top six. It’s something that has never been done before because the team that comes up is normally just talking about staying up.

“But from my time so far and speaking with Derek (Beaumont) I know that we’re aiming to challenge the big teams, and why not? If we just talk about staying up I think we’re talking ourselves down too much with the squad we have and then we might end up in a relegation fight because that’s what we’re concentrating on.

“But if we focus on finish in the top half I think we’re more likely to end up there, and with our squad and the calibre of the coaching team with Adrian Lam there, I really do believe we can achieve something special this season.”

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Must See

More in Super League