Neil Jukes happy with improved Leigh performance

Drew Darbyshire

Leigh Centurions head coach Neil Jukes was happy with his sides display against Batley Bulldogs but says it will be several weeks before the team start to peak.

A week after their defeat to Toronto Wolfpack in the opening round, the Centurions put in a dominating display as they eased past Batley Bulldogs 34-6 at the Leigh Sports Village on Sunday afternoon.

Leigh shown glimpses of how good they could be this year and even though Jukes was happy with his sides performance, he revealed that they were nowhere near their best.

He said: “We are never going to be at our best in game one and two.

“I think sometimes people forget just how much change we have had over the off-season but it was really important, individually and collectively, that we improved some things and we took the emotion out of it and played with a lot more common sense.

“We could have been a bit more ruthless in certain areas and we could have quite easily have got a lot more points than what we did.

“Our kicking game was a lot more solid and maybe in a couple of weeks, if we get more continuity, then we could post a few more points.”

Craig Hall was dropped and played Jack Owens at full-back and it proved to be a good decision, with Owens being the stand-out player in the game.

And Jukes was full of praise for the 23-year-old after the game.

He added: “Jack Owens gave us a bit of movement and a bit of difference around the back so we’ll do that through the year.

“It’s important that we spread some work and give people opportunities and not everyone who doesn’t play has necessarily been dropped – it’s just making sure we balance it out and keep the camaraderie of the group right and without being disrespectful to the competition.

“He (Jack Owens) got on the end of some nice stuff and he asked some questions. I could hear him sorting stuff defensively from the back and that’s really important. He gave us a lot of energy.”

Next up for the Centurions is a trip to Craven Park as they face the newly-promoted Barrow Raiders, who earned a point against Toronto Wolfpack on Sunday.