Jukes tips Leeds to be back in the mix this year

Leigh Centurions coach Neil Jukes has revealed his disappointment following Friday night’s 17-14 defeat to Leeds – but said that the Rhinos will be back at the top end of Super League this season.

Despite being down to 12 men for a period, the Centurions produced a gamely performance against the Rhinos before eventually coming up short in their first home game back in Super League.

“I thought we did it tough,” Jukes said. “We lost Gareth Hock after 13 minutes and he wasn’t able to return and we lost Jamie Acton to the sin bin.

“But I thought we learned some lessons from last week. We are not a million miles off. While Leeds had a difficult season last year, they are going to be up there this year.”

Jukes, however, could not hide his disappointment with the result.

“It was a big improvement but I’m really disappointed with the result,” Jukes said. “We hung in there for long enough and I thought there were two big moments at the end on our right edge, where we needed to pass the ball.

“They are fine margins and we’ve got to make sure we take them. We’re going to have to win some tight games and to do that we’ve got to nail the plays when they are presented to us.”