Leigh Leopards receive huge injury boost but key forward a doubt for Catalans Dragons clash

Ben Olawumi
John Asiata, Robbie Mulhern

Leigh Leopards duo John Asiata (left) & Robbie Mulhern (right)

Leigh Leopards will name captain John Asiata in their 21-man squad for Friday evening’s home clash with Catalans Dragons, but are likely to be without powerhouse Robbie Mulhern oncemore.

Loose forward Asiata – who missed the back end of last season through injury – tore his calf in the Leopards’ Round 3 defeat at St Helens on March 1.

Eight weeks on, there’s a chance the skipper could make his return, one of the key figures whose absence so far this season has seen Leigh struggle to pick up results.

Prop Mulhern meanwhile has already missed match action already this season with a calf issue, the same injury which has plagued numerous members of the Leopards’ squad already in 2024.

He returned last week in their defeat at former club Warrington Wolves, but is now nursing another problem and is a major doubt for Catalans’ Round 9 visit to the Leigh Sports Village.

Leigh Leopards receive huge injury boost with John Asiata named in 21

Providing an update on Asiata in his pre-match press conference on Tuesday, the Leigh chief said: “Injury wise, we’ve got a few boys who are very, very close in John Asiata and Edwin Ipape (who will return) over the next couple of weeks.

“It’s been pretty well-documented that those players are due back next week or the week after, so we’re pretty excited about that. The time that they’ve been out has seemed like forever, but it’s come around really quickly.

“Those boys are on-field running with us now and getting their rehab sorted out, so it’s getting close.

“I think John Asiata may have a small chance (of playing this week). We’ll give him up until captain’s run to declare that, but he is on-field training at the moment and going pretty well.

“It’s massive for us. He’s the captain of the club and a leader within the group, but more importantly, a lot of our attack runs through him with the style that I play.

“We have missed him, just his presence around the group lifts the intensity and his leadership takes us to another level.”

Key Leopards forward Robbie Mulhern a doubt for Catalans Dragons clash

Mulhern – who featured for England in last autumn’s test series against Tonga – missed Leigh’s defeats to both Wigan Warriors and Hull KR earlier this month, with the latter seeing them exit the Challenge Cup.

But after his return at Warrington last week, where Lam’s side were beaten 16-14 despite leading for large periods of the game, it now appears that he may be absent oncemore with a similar issue.

With the forward the only notably new potential absentee, boss Lam continued: “There is some doubt over (Robbie) Mulhern, so we’ll have to wait and see on that one.

“It’s his other calf that’s a little bit tight and sore now, so we’ll monitor that over the course of this week.

“There’s a 50/50 chance of him playing, it’ll be on his call on captain’s run again. The dangerous thing about this one is that it’s a six-day turnaround into Catalans, so it is risky.

“It’s probably on the high end of risky, so if we’re going to look at it that way, it’s probably on the side of him not playing at the moment.”