Leigh’s three main rivals for promotion to Super League

Josh McAllister
Joe Mellor in action for Leigh Centurions

Leigh scrum-half Joe Mellor has picked his three main rivals for promotion to Super League in the 2022 Championship campaign.

Mellor, 30, signed a new contract with the Centurions for the 2022 season in August. He will be joined by a handful of new faces at the Leigh Sports Village, including former Wigan forward Joel Tomkins from Catalans. Also joining them in pre-season will be the likes of Aaron Smith, Joe Wardle and Jy Hitchcox.

Leigh will be back in the Championship following their relegation last season, having won only two games.

“I think Featherstone Rovers will be a big threat along with Newcastle who have now gone full-time,” Mellor said. 

“Halifax Panthers will, I think be in the mix too.”

On pre-season, Mellor continued: “I haven’t been away as I just wanted to chill out after the season we have just had. It was a tough season with Covid interruptions and no crowds early in the year. 

“As we went into August, we knew a win wasn’t far away. That victory over Salford here at Leigh Sports Village did all the club good as well as our loyal fans.”

Joe Mellor on the Championship competition

Having played in the Championship, he said, “It’s a bit slower than Super League as you would expect but it’s a lot more physical. I don’t mind the all-weather pitches as I played at Widnes for a few seasons and it’s something you get used to.”

Reflecting on 2021, he added: “I know we only won a couple of games but the opening fixture against Wigan could have gone our way. We pushed Catalans down here at Leigh Sports Village. Wakefield away when we were down to one front rower. And the televised game here against Hull Kingston Rovers could all have gone our way.

“That’s all in the past though. The opening games of 2022 are only 12 weeks away, and pre-season training starts on November 15.

“I am looking forward to it and meeting my new team-mates.”