Championship Play-offs: Leigh v Sheffield

Leigh Centurions coach Paul Rowley admits he cannot afford any late injuries ahead of Thursday’s televised play-off clash with Sheffield Eagles.

Rowley is down to his last 17 players after Kevin Henderson received a two-match suspension and Tommy Goulden’s season ended when he tore his pectoral muscle against Featherstone last week.

Rowley said: “We’re going to have play with three wingers, three halfbacks and two hookers in the 17-man squad.

“If anyone pulls up before the game, we’ll have to run with just 16 players – but that just makes it all a bit more exciting. It’s just another challenge, and the adversity we’ve faced all year has made our performances all the more gratifying.”

Rowley added: “We’ve had a good year and been respectful of opposition teams without fearing them.

“We’re now one game away from the Grand Final and we’re at home. At the start of the year we’d have taken this position, 100 per cent. We’ll be on fire tomorrow.”

The Leigh coach concedes Sheffield are “the form play-off team at the moment” after “two very dominant displays”, but is confident his men can succeed in front of the Premier Sports cameras.

Eagles coach Mark Aston will need to assess Jack Howieson, Joe Hirst, Quentin Laulu-Togagae and Misi Taulapapa before finalising his side.

The Sheffield quartet are all carrying injuries and have just four days to recover from Sunday’s win at Halifax.

Aston said: “When it comes to play-off rugby and you get to a semi-final the lads are patched up and want to get out there.”

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