Championship preview: Leigh v Batley (Sun 3.00pm)

Leigh Centurions coach Paul Rowley says his team could not have faced a more difficult opening fixture to the new Kingstone Press Championship season.

Rowley said: “It couldn’t get any tougher. Batley have got a good record at Leigh Sports Village, they enjoy coming to us and they’ll be looking forward to it as much as we are.

“This will probably be the most interesting game of the opening round. It’s a tough game for us to start with, but a good one.”

He added: “They’ve had a few changes in their squad, but they’ll be very similar in terms of their style and approach.”

Batley Bulldogs have been dealt a blow on the eve of the new season after Ben Black underwent a knee operation that will keep him out of action for the next three weeks.

But Bulldogs coach John Kear is adamant his side can start the season well on Sunday.

Kear said: “Our attitude and application during pre-season has been first class.

“We’ve been slightly hampered because we’ve had such a turnover of players and training hasn’t been the easiest due to the weather, but we’ve improved in each trial game and we’ll go to Leigh ready for the formidable challenge.

“They’ve a strong squad and that’s been boosted by some good signings, but we’ll be confident too.”

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