ICYMI: Leigh Centurions return to Super League in style

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A thrilling 48-40 triumph over Huddersfield Giants saw Leigh Centurions book their return to Super League after an 11-year absence, as the two-time Rugby League Champions managed a fifth successive victory in the Qualifiers Super 8s to complete the feat in spectacular fashion.

There’s no doubt Neil Jukes’ men have been the RFL Championship’s top performers this season, with 21 wins and a draw from their 23 regular-season games, including a 38-12 demolition of their nearest challengers, London Broncos.

But while Leigh also finished top of the second-tier last season, they struggled to handle the pressure of the qualifiers, finishing bottom of the pack. But under Jukes – who joined Centurions ahead of this season, the Greater Manchester outfit have beaten some prestigious opposition.

And they’ve shown real fighting spirit, coming back from 12-0 down to beat Hull KR 25-18 in Humberside, with Martyn Ridyard’s kicking helping Leigh to that impressive victory.

Elsewhere, Centurions weathered a late London Broncos rally to secure a 34-30 victory at Leigh Sports Village, while Salford Red Devils and Featherstone Rovers were both swept aside before that meeting with Huddersfield.

Sunday’s final score of 48-40 was a fitting way for Leigh to secure their promotion, having excited fans across the country with their attacking approach to the game, and the dynamic talent of players like Matty Dawson, who joined from St Helens earlier in 2016, but has already become something of a Leigh legend.

For now, it’s celebration time in this corner of the North-West, but preparations will soon be underway for just the club’s second-ever season in Super League.

And those optimistic about another memorable season for Leigh can back them to finish in the top eight in Super League XXII at 4/1, while 66/1 says they win it in 2017.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing

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Dave Burin

Dave graduated with an MA in English Literature at Durham University, and worked in marketing before joining the Ladbrokes News team. A Man United fan and avid groundhopper, he’s also an ardent follower of Rugby League. You can usually find him at a ground near you, clutching a big cup of tea.