Super League Preview: Leigh Centurions

Transfers

In: Jamie Ellis, Matty Gee, Ryan Brierley, Nathaniel Peteru (all Hull KR), Adam Sidlow, Joe Mellor, Matty Russell, Blake Wallace (all free agents), Ben Flower, Craig Mullen (both Wigan), Lewis Tierney (Catalans), Josh Eaves, Matty Foster (both St. Helens), Nathan Roebuck, Tom Burnett (both Warrington), James Bell (Toulouse), Nathan Peats (Gold Coast).

Out: Danny Addy (Salford), Martyn Ridyard, Liam Forsyth, Sam Brooks (all Swinton), Gregg McNally (Whitehaven), Ben Reynolds (Toulouse), Callum Field (Featherstone), Ryan Ince (Oldham), Brad Holroyd (Workington), Adam Walker (released).

New boys look to avoid drop

Leigh Centurions are the new boys and will automatically be most pundits’ pick to go straight back down – but boy, have they recruited some solid Super League experience.

John Duffy at only 40-years old is the youngest coach in the top flight, and is already spoken of as technically terrific.

As a former half-back himself, he will be hoping that new signings Joe Mellor and Blake Wallace will fire and steer his side to safety at the very least.

Preparing Leigh for the 2021 Super League season when their promotion from the Championship as Toronto Wolfpack's replacement was only confirmed mid-December is a challenge unlike any Duffy has faced before.

But with owner Derek Beaumont having already made money available to add players with top-flight experience to the squad before the decision was made, Duffy is confident the Centurions are well-placed to be competitive this year.

"Our plan was to try to get a squad with as much Super League ability as possible," Duffy said.

"Derek has pumped a lot of money into the club over the years and he really wanted to go for it in the Championship.

"So we wanted to get the best squad we could for that and if we did get the nod to go up we could just add value, and hopefully have a squad good enough to compete week in, week out in Super League.

"I think we've got a great squad now, but the lads have all bought in through pre-season. It's been a really tough pre-season to get us up to the standard we need to be and hopefully, we can give a good account of ourselves."

And the Super League new boys will be boosted with the addition of Nathan Peats from the NRL.

Peats spent the last four and a bit seasons with Justin Holbrook’s Gold Coast Titans, and Duffy has spoken on how he sees the dummy half fit in.

“Nathan is a recent State of Origin player who brings a wealth of experience and he’s looking forward to joining our club and getting stuck in,” Duffy said.

“He will augment the very good squad that we have put together and he will add his own qualities to the group.”

Prediction

The Centurions Super League arrival came about in unfamiliar circumstances, although the club is no stranger to the top flight having appeared twice before (2005 & 2017).

They have one of the most outspoken and ambitious owners in the league in the form of Derek Beaumont, whilst John Duffy will be looking to make his mark on the Super League as he takes to top flight management for the first time.

Whilst they have added a newfound layer of depth to their squad in the off-season, their lack of competitive rugby over the last 12 months is likely to hamper them in their bid to establish themselves as Super League regulars.

We expect to see the Centurions finish bottom of the pack, although if Mellor and Wallace can find a spark, they could surprise a few.

VAVEL Predicts - 12th.

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