Higham: Leigh are ready to go

Leigh have faced some setbacks in pre-season but captain Micky Higham is confident the Centurions can start their Championship season with a bang.

Leigh face Batley away on Sunday in their first game without head coach Paul Rowley.

Assistant Neil Jukes has replaced him and the Centurions will also be missing fullback Greg McNally and Willie Tonga to injury.

But Higham believes his team have rallied around together to make sure they get the job done this weekend.

“It’s been a good pre-season, the lads are all buzzing to go,” he told Love Rugby League.

“We’ve got that competition for places now, we’ve brought some quality in, it’s just about getting out there and doing the business.

“We’ve had a bit of a disruption last week but that happens in sport. In any business.

“We were all gutted at the time, we’re a close-knit bunch, we’ve all rallied around.

“We’ve got full faith in Jukes and nothing much changes really, all the systems. We’re ready to go on Sunday.

McNally could be out for six months with a knee injury while Tonga may miss the first six games.

Higham doesn’t expect the club to bring in any new recruits as cover.

“Is it a good thing that we get them out of the way now instead of in six months time?” he said.

“It’s a big blow for Greg McNally, he was looking sharp in pre-season. But I’d say we’ve got some strength in depth, we’ve got some quality players who can fit in.

“I feel for Willie. It might be six weeks for Willie but it will get him a chance to come back fitter and stronger. We’ve had a couple of injuries but that’s part of sport, these things happen. We’ll dealt with it and move on.”

Leigh are gunning for another season of Championship dominance and the club has impressed with its off-season recruits Rangi Chase, Harrison Hansen, Reni Maitua, Tonga and Dayne Weston.

Last season their campaign for promotion to Super League crumbled in the Super 8s but Higham believes they have learned a lot from that experience.

“We’ll still go out there and [try and] win every game,” the hooker said.

“You next game is your most important. We’ll take that as it comes and if we can win every game, that’s a bonus.

“We might look at our in-house goals ourselves, but again there’s going to be injuries, rotation whatever.

“Hopefully we’ve learned some lessons. It’s alright going through the year but when it steps up you have to lift your intensity.

“Whether we ran out of a bit of gas at the end… for a lot of those lads it was their first year full-time. Because of the performance they showed in the Challenge Cup everybody thought Leigh were ready to do it.

“But it’s the challenge to do week-in-week-out which got us a little bit in the end. We ran out of petrol but hopefully we’ve learned some lessons.

“And I think with the squad we’ve got there’s a bit of pressure on people as well. If you’re not playing well there’s somebody there to take your spot.”

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