RUGBY LEAGUE expert Kaine Greenwood (@KaineG23) bagged a winning Super League NAP on the opening weekend of the 2017 season. He's back for more on Friday night.
Leigh Centurions v Leeds Rhinos | Friday 20:00 | Sky Sports 1
It might be that the World Club Challenge takes centre stage this weekend but it is also worth keeping an eye on the remaining action in Super League as Leigh host Leeds in their first home competition fixture in over a decade.
In that period Leeds have been the most successful club on domestic shores while the Centurions have suffered with relegation, financial issues and a struggle in returning to the premier division.
Centurions are back
Now though, the Centurions have made it back to the top-flight on almost a level playing field with a recruitment drive that illustrates their desire to compete beyond this season.
Former Australian international Willie Tonga represents one of those names having joined the club on the back of a one-year stint at Catalans and despite being named ‘Little Willie' could have a big impact on Leigh's attacking production as he makes the squad for this re-arranged Round 11 fixture.
It is his connection with fellow signing Matty Dawson that has caught my eye this week; Tonga – the Canberra-born centre – touched down seven times in 15 games during his French adventure and will provide an experienced link-up for Matty Dawson in the number five shirt, who himself has come off a career-best season – mainly as a centre.
Dawson to profit
Dawson's identical record of seven-in-15 wasn't one of the league's best but he was the club's most-productive centre and his stats may have been hampered by injuries and also his versatility within the three-quarter line of a Saints side that notched up 103 tries.
Now settled in a wide berth with the Centurions I think we could see yet another upward year for the 26-year-old. While it is easy to see the Rhinos running out winners here, especially with the return of half Danny McGuire, quotes on a win do not appeal and so, in a game where I forecast points, it's a tryscorer market that takes most interest.
Tryscorer market appeals
As the Centurions late efforts against Castleford illustrated they are more than capable of crossing the whitewash when given the opportunity and I'm more than happy to say that the left-edge of their attack is likely to be where coach Neil Jukes will want to focus.
As such, off-season recruit Dawson, now in his favoured position, is great value to cross up against a weaker defensive opponent in Tom Briscoe and should he at least double his tally for his new employers it provides a healthy return at 13/8 with Ladbrokes.
I'm all for it.
Leigh Centurions v Leeds Rhinos – Matty Dawson to score a try at anytime (13/8 Ladbrokes)