Leigh Leopards look set to be without both John Asiata and Zak Hardaker for their debut Super League play-off campaign, as confirmed by Sky Sports pitchside reporter Jenna Brooks tonight.
Leopards boss Adrian Lam had already told Love Rugby League that the pair were in doubt for this evening’s clash against Wigan Warriors, though captain Asiata was named in the initial 21-man squad, as he was last week for the golden point extra time win over Wakefield Trinity.
The big forward missed out on the match day squad against Trinity though, and has done again tonight, courtesy of an issue with his hamstring. Initially believed to be a minor strain, Brooks reported Asiata’s injury was worse than first thought early on in the contest against the Warriors.
She then brought further bad news for those of a Leopards persuasion, confirming Hardaker also looks likely to miss the remainder of 2023.
Leigh Leopards dealt double major injury blow
The former Wigan man has broken his hand, and having been absent for the dramatic triumph over Wakefield, he was sent for scans on the problem by the club.
It would appear that those scans brought about inconclusive results, with further needed next week. Brooks however had been told by Leigh’s club doctor that things aren’t looking good for Hardaker, who has scored four tries in 27 appearances in his first year with the Leopards.
At the time of writing, it remains scoreless at the Leigh Sports Village tonight. Lam’s side must win to ensure they remain in 4th spot and get home advantage in next week’s play-off eliminator against Hull KR. The Robins are at Wakefield Trinity, and need only a 35 point swing to see that clash – a repeat of the Challenge Cup final – take place at Craven Park.
Wigan meanwhile came into the final night sat top of the Super League table. Given their vastly superior points difference to both Catalans Dragons and St Helens, a win in the ‘Battle of the Borough 3.0′ would see the Cherry and Whites earn a first League Leaders’ Shield since 2020.