OPINION: Leigh show they’re made of the stern stuff

At around 4:20 on Sunday afternoon, Twitter was awash with Rugby League supporters basking in the shortcomings of Leigh Centurions.

After all the hype and all the brash comments throughout the off-season, the Centurions looked set to lose to the London Broncos as they went 20-6 behind. Such a defeat would have been unthinkable and could have had some very damaging consequences for the Centurions in the context of their season.

And for most Rugby League supporters, who have taken an active disliking towards the club following their rise to success over the last couple of years, the prospect of poking more fun at the Centurions was very appealing.

However, in the space of five second-half minutes, Leigh ruined a lot of people’s Sunday evening as they showed just why there has been so much hype surrounding them. Three tries completed a super comeback and secured two vital Championship points for the ambitious club.

Rangi Chase scored the winning try for Leigh.
Rangi Chase scored the winning try for Leigh.

That turnaround proved just why there has been so much hype ahead of this season. Throughout six weeks of turmoil and off-field drama, Leigh’s group of players still had it in them to condemn London to their first defeat of the season against all the odds.

Admittedly, the fact they went so far behind is concerning. But the manner in which they

responded goes to show that those big name signings haven’t gone there for a holiday or a payday, they’re there to achieve things and to be successful. They got their heads down, got stuck in and produced the goods under great adversity, and for that they deserve great credit.

In the scorer of their winning try, the headling-grabbing Rangi Chase, the Centurions have a player that really can be a match winner, and he proved just that on Sunday. His try was particularly significant for Neil Jukes’ side, with Chase coming in for inevitable criticism since his big move from Salford.

Chase, like him or not, has come in for unwarranted criticism throughout his career. He’s not perfect, but he is most certainly an exceptional talent, and he will prove that at Leigh over time.

Questions will continue to be asked regarding Leigh, and should defeats occur in the next few weeks their victory over London will be perceived as merely papering over the cracks, but it could also prove to be a defining moment in their season.