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Sunday, 20 January, 2019

Centurions can keep tabs on smarting Warrington

Wolves' struggles look set to continue

Leigh's defence wrap up Leeds stand-off Liam Sutcliffe
1 of 1

Betfred Super League
Sky Sports 2, 8pm Thursday

Warrington started the Betfred Super League season as 7-2 second favourites to win the Grand Final but not much more than a month into the campaign, the Wolves are more concerned with avoiding a bottom-four finish than winning at Old Trafford in October.

For the first time time since 2009, Warrington have lost their opening four matches and will be hoping the fifth game at Leigh goes better than it did against Harlequins eight years ago.

Back then, the Wolves were whipped 60-8 before finally defeating Hull KR in their following match.

Tony Smith took over as coach three games into that season and has never suffered five successive defeats as Wolves boss.

Bookmakers believe things will get better sooner rather than later and make them 4-9 to get off the mark at the Centurions, but it would be a brave punter who backs the winless Wolves at that price or supports them to give up a six-point start at the Leigh Sports Village.

This is the Centurions’ fourth home match since their return to the top flight. Last weekend’s 30-0 thrashing of Huddersfield followed a 24-16 win over St Helens and a 17-14 defeat by Leeds.

And that form in front of their fervent home support hasn’t come as a complete surprise.

Last season, Neil Jukes’s side won 16 out of 16 on their own midden and a victory against Warrington would take them to the dizzy heights of fourth on the league ladder.

Jukes has Australian forward Glenn Stewart back on board after he missed the win over Hudders­field, while the Wolves hope the return of one of their key men will kick-start their season.

Prop Chris Hill hasn’t played all year after undergoing hernia and shoulder operations in the off-season and is set to beef up the visitors’ pack.

Hill is 10-1 to be named man of the match on his comeback but it may be worth chancing a small punt on Leigh’s ex-Warrington hooker Micky Higham at 14-1.

The Centurions skipper will be desperate for a big game against his old club.

As the Giants, Saints and Rhinos have already discovered, going to the Leigh Sports Village on a weeknight is an uncomfort­able experience and the hosts look worth supporting with an eight-point start at even-money.

It’s 18 months since the Centurions last lost by more than that margin at home, although it should be pointed out that most of their matches were against Championship opponents.

Leigh +8
3pts Evs Betway
M Higham man of the match
0.5pt 14-1 Sky Bet

It would be a brave punter who backs the winless Wolves at 4-9 or supports them to give up a six-point start at the Leigh Sports Village
E.W. Terms
Sky bet