Leigh Leopards coach issues injury update following Catalans Dragons win with fresh blow

Ben Olawumi
Edwin Ipape, John Asiata, Dan Norman, Robbie Mulhern

Clockwise from top left: Leigh Leopards' Edwin Ipape, John Asiata, Robbie Mulhern & Dan Norman

Leigh Leopards boss Adrian Lam has provided a comprehensive injury update after their big win at home against Catalans Dragons, with Dan Norman’s failed HIA the latest blow.

An otherwise joyous night at the Leigh Sports Village, which ended in a 30-2 Leopards win, saw Lam and co. welcome back John Asiata after close to two months out having torn his calf in Round 3 at St Helens.

The skipper played circa 20 minutes towards the end of the Round 9 clash, and is the first of many key figures that Leigh hope to have back at their disposal in the next few weeks.

Their injury list is still a long one however, and tonight there was a new name added to it in the shape of prop Norman.

Leigh Leopards coach issues injury update following Catalans Dragons win with fresh blow to Dan Norman

Warrington-born Ireland international Norman was forced off for a HIA towards the end of the first half having come out of a scramble for the ball on the floor worse for wear.

The 26-year-old’s assessment included the half-time break, after which it was confirmed via the PA system in the ground that he had failed it and the interchange involving him accordingly became a permanent one.

That’s just about the only negative from tonight for Leigh, with the expected returns of key players detailed by boss Lam post-match.

He said: “John (Asiata) played a part tonight, albeit only 20 minutes I think, but there was a plan around that and he’s come off good.

“Edwin Ipape’s probably (back) next week or the week after, and then you’re looking at Gaz O’Brien probably two or three weeks after that. (Robbie) Mulhern probably next week or the week after too.

“It seems like ages ago that they were injured and we found out we were going to be without them, but it’s come around so quickly. Having said that, we are into Round 10 next week.

“I’m not sure (exactly what happened to Norman). I’ve looked at it closely, but there’s no vision there to show what happens.

“He errors in the tackle and gets concussed from it, so that makes him miss next week’s game. That’s okay, we’ll move on with that quickly, but I think he’s got a head-on-head (contact).”

Leopards boss Adrian Lam delivers update on fitness of new recruit Darnell McIntosh

When the team news was announced ahead of Friday night’s clash with the Dragons, Darnell McIntosh’s name was omitted from the Leopards squad.

The new recruit arrived from Hull FC in a permanent swap deal which saw Tom Briscoe go the other way just a few days ago.

He warmed up alongside his new team-mates, with Lam confirming that his absence was solely selection-based and not injury related.

Lam detailed: “We only had one session this week (with him), and I didn’t want to take into consideration to pick him when he hadn’t trained.

“I just wanted him to be around the group, he was like our 19th man tonight. He warmed up with the players and it’ll be hard to fit him in there somewhere, but we’ll find a way whether it’s next week or the week after. We’ll see how that unfolds.”

26-year-old McIntosh offers versatility in abundance, able to slot in virtually anywhere amongst the backs.

Leigh have been playing Australian marquee signing Matt Moylan at full-back in recent weeks with Gareth O’Brien’s sidelined, but Lam is keeping his cards close to his chest when it comes to McIntosh’s allocated spot.

When asked where he will slot the new man in, the Papua New Guinean responded: “Centre, wing, full-back! It’s difficult because after tonight’s performance, everyone’s played reasonably well, so where do you put him?

“The headache is Matt Moylan now – do we need a half-back or a full-back? That’s a good headcace to have. Leave that with me and I’ll sort that out!”