Leigh Leopards have a potential Man of Steel in their Super League ranks

LEIGH LEOPARDS have a potential Man of Steel in their Super League ranks as the Lancashire club aims to become a stable top flight side.

Leigh fans will be hoping that 2023 will be fourth time lucky, considering that the Leopards have been relegated at the first time of asking three times before.

There seems to be a different feel about this Leigh squad though compared to previous years and is there any wonder?

Ten new signings joined the club as owner Derek Beaumont launched the rebrand of the Leopards from the Centurions two months ago with the likes of Zak Hardaker, Ricky Leutele and Jack Hughes joining ranks with Adrian Lam.

However, Lam’s squad was already brimming with class and confidence having just been promoted from the Championship after a record-breaking season in 2022.

One of those – Edwin Ipape – joined the Leopards at the beginning of last season after being without a club despite impressing for the PNG Hunters in 2021.

The Papua New Guinea hooker knew Adrian Lam from his time in the Kumuls’ set-up with the former Wigan Warriors head coach bringing in Ipape without much competition.

And it’s safe to say that it has been a match made in heaven with Ipape becoming one of Leigh’s most important assets in the club’s promotion-winning campaign last season.

Good for Leigh, too, they managed to lock down the PNG star to a new deal in order to ward off any potential suitors.

If that was good business by the Leopards then making sure that deal was completed before Ipape went into the recent Rugby League World Cup tournament was even more on the money.

The 23-year-old excelled during the competition, earning a place in the Men’s Team of the Tournament as his stock rose even higher.

Though perhaps some Super League fans do not know the quality of Ipape just yet, they will do so soon – and if everything goes to plan for the PNG star and the Leopards in 2023, who’s to say he couldn’t find himself on that Man of Steel podium at the end of the year?