Leigh star played through the pain barrier as coach hails ‘outstanding’ duo

Drew Darbyshire
Ricky Leutele Leigh Leopards SWpix

Photo: Ed Sykes/SWpix

Leigh star Ricky Leutele has been carrying a knee injury in the early rounds of the season, but that didn’t stop him from scoring his first try for the club on Friday.

The former Samoa international was a headline signing for the Leopards upon their entry back in to Super League ahead of this season.

Leutele scored his first try for his new club on Friday, helping the Leopards ease past Castleford 30-6 at the Leigh Sports Village.

“Ricky has been carrying a knee injury for the first eight or nine games of the season,” Leigh coach Adrian Lam revealed after the game.

“He has been mentally tough and has played in every game, so we’ve appreciated that.

“He got his first try, Ava Seumanufagi got his first try and Matty Davis got his first try. They were all very deserved and we were singing for them in the dressing room (after the game) so there are some good vibes.”

Leigh have enjoyed a superb start to life back in Super League. Lam’s side currently sit sixth in the Super League table, occupying a play-off spot having won six games from 11.

Speaking after their win over Castleford on Friday, Lam hailed his starting front-rowers Robbie Mulhern and Tom Amone.

He said: “I thought both him (Mulhern) and Tom Amone were outstanding, they were both absolutely brilliant.

“Two of the best front-rowers in the competition or up there with them at the moment.

“I’ve always liked Robbie and that’s why we tried to get him here as soon as we could.

“He’s playing a lot more minutes and because of that he’s getting to the level of rugby that we need him to be at.”

International prop to boost Leigh

Lam added that Fiji powerhouse Ben Nakubuwai was 50-50 for the Castleford game, so they ultimately decided to not risk him.

The Fijian front-rower could return for Leigh’s trip to Huddersfield on Friday night.

Lam said: “He was 50-50 and he probably could have played at a chance but I thought being at home, giving more time to players who have been on the bench and probably didn’t want to rush him back in because we’ve got a really tough period coming up.

“Every week is tough but there is no point in rushing him back if he is only going to miss two or three weeks, especially with the Challenge Cup coming up as well, we’re focusing on that.”

Lam didn’t make a sub until the 50th minute against Castleford, he explained: “It was just tactical. It changes every week for me and the players determine that at times.

“Our middles and front-rowers have been going really good for us and the only way to get them fitter is to play them for longer, so we’ve been doing a fair bit of that and they’ve been benefiting from that. It changes every week.”

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