Higham stresses the importance of opening round victory

Micky Higham believes it is essential that Leigh get off to a winning start in the Qualifiers.

The influential Centurions captain was a part of the squad that finished bottom of the Qualifiers last year, having dominated the Championship from start to finish. Leigh lost their three opening fixtures in the Qualifiers last year, all to Super League opposition, and went on to finish eighth having only managed one victory over Sheffield throughout the seven-game season.

Neil Jukes’ side have a chance to right the wrongs from last year having once again winning the Championship’s League Leaders’ Shield, with two of their opening three games this year being against their Championship counterparts. And Higham believes that getting a victory over London is essential in their hopes of mounting a serious promotion challenge.

“It’s important to get up and running with a win because last year we didn’t do that and I think each game got more and more nervy as they went on trying to get a win,” he told Total RL.t was a step too far for us. London will be as fired up as us to show they think they’re worthy of trying to get where we both want to be.

“That Hull KR game just deflated us. We didn’t realise it then but it knocked the stuffing out of us; we were flying 40 minutes and it felt like we were playing a regular league game but Hull KR wrestled the momentum back and we couldn’t stop it. We weren’t far off in some respects but with the quality we’ve brought in this year, we’re better equipped to get the job done.”

Their clash with the Broncos comes just a number of weeks since the Centurions comfortably dispatched of Andrew Henderson’s side 38-12, but Higham believes it could prove to be a more difficult task this time around.

“It will be a good test for us,” he said.

“We had a game at our place earlier in the year where we were behind for most of it, and they’re a tough nut to crack. We went down there recently and played really well – for 60 minutes we were bordering faultless. It was a complete performance there and they’ve been rightly up there all year. It’s going to be a hum-dinger of a start and it really sets a marker down for the Championship to show they can mix it against the Super League sides.”