Edwin Ipape on choosing Leigh Leopards despite Super League interest and the determination to prove critics wrong

ONE man is seemingly on everyone’s lips as Super League gears up for its 2023 season.

That man is Leigh Leopards star and reigning Championship Player of the Year, Edwin Ipape, a 24-year-old Papua New Guinea international who has taken rugby league by storm in the northern hemisphere.

Arriving at Leigh as a relatively unknown, the hooker took the second tier by the scruff of its neck, proving to be a key cog in the promotion wheel.

Of course, there was interest from Super League rivals in such a devastating player, but Ipape has explained why he chose to stay with the Leigh.

“I settled in really well and I had a really good year last year,” Ipape told League Express.

“It’s been easier to make the decision to stay here because Leigh gave me the opportunity when I came across and no one else did. That was brilliant.

“It’s also a challenge, people are talking about Leigh not being good enough to be in Super League and that challenge drives you to become better. That was the main factor for me to stay here.

“There was interest and stuff, but I really didn’t even consider them or have a conversation with me them because my sole focus was to be with Leigh.”

For Ipape, the outside noise challenging the capability of this Leigh squad is driving both the hooker and his teammates to be better and that anything is possible.

“We really haven’t focused where we want to get to or where we finish. The only thing we’ve focused on is how we can be better as a team and what people achieve every week,” Ipape continued.

“What do we want to be as a team? Where we finish or if we make the top four or top eight it’s the result of what we do as a team, day in day out training sessions.

“I think there is a lot of motivation in people not believing in us and the squad we’ve got and that’s a good thing for us to see those honest opinions and use it to motivate us to be better as individuals and as a team.”