Leigh Leopards are back in Betfred Super League action on Saturday as they prepare to welcome league-leaders Catalans Dragons to Leigh Sports Village.
Adrian Lam’s side made history last weekend as they won their first Challenge Cup since 1971 after beating Hull KR via golden point 17-16.
Lam has made one alteration to his squad that lifted the Challenge Cup, with Oliver Gildart included in the team. The former Wigan Warriors ace was unable to feature last week after missing the registration cut-off date. Leigh only took a 20-man squad to the capital, but Gildart’s return gives them an extra option.
Catalans Dragons boss Steve McNamara will welcome back three players for the trip to Leigh, with Arthur Mourgue, Mike McMeeken and Matthieu Laguerre all returning. Matt Ikuvalu, Bastien Scimone and Tanguy Zenon are three players to drop out of the squad.
Catalans Dragons -8 handicap @ 21/20
As league leaders, Catalans are the worthy favourites for Saturday’s contest. McNamara’s side have won eight of their previous nine matches in Super League, and more importantly, they have enjoyed a week’s rest.
Leigh had to give everything to overcome the Robins, and we will not know how much that victory took out of them until kick-off.
What we do know is how much Catalans have dominated this fixture of late, winning eight of their nine meetings against the Leopards.
Leigh have not taken their foot off the gas all season, but if they are to slip up, it is bound to be a week after their emotionally-charged Challenge Cup success.
Catalans will be hoping to win the League Leaders’ Shield in the next few weeks, and a win on Saturday pushes them one step closer.
Tom Johnstone to score anytime @ 4/6
If Leigh’s squad are struggling for fitness after a hectic few days, they will do well to stop Catalans winger Tom Johnstone.
The former Wakefield Trinity ace scored against Leigh when the teams last met in June, and he is simply too good when presented with the chance to score.
Leigh’s squad probably spent a few days celebrating their success, and rightly so, but that may take its toll on Saturday, and if any gaps open up out wide, Johnstone will be one of the first to take advantage.
He is Super League’s leading try scorer with 24, and he can improve that record at Leigh Sports Village.