Leigh Leopards 2024 season preview

Leigh Leopards 2024 season preview

2023 recap

You’d do well to find a team that had a better year than Leigh in 2023, and certainly no one punched above their weight quite like the newly-promoted side. Strong favourites at the start of the season to finish bottom, the Leopards surprised everyone with their performances, which were capped off by a memorable Challenge Cup Final win over Hull KR. As for Super League, there was a period where a top two finish looked a distinct possibility, but a post-Wembley tail off left Leigh in 5th – still comfortably in the play-offs.

2023 position: 5th

Key signings

Owen Trout (Huddersfield Giants), Dan Norman (St Helens), Lewis Baxter (St Helens), Louis Brogan (Swinton Lions), Ben McNamara (Hull FC), Jack Derbyshire (Warrington Wolves), Kavan Rothwell (Wigan Warriors), Matt Moylan (Cronulla Sharks)

Key departures

Oliver Gildart (Hull KR), Joe Wardle (Oldham Roughyeds), Ben Reynolds (Featherstone Rovers), Ava Seumanufagai (Campbelltown City Kangaroos), Aaron Smith (Barrow Raiders)

Players to watch

Of all the new arrivals in Super League this year, Matt Moylan is arguably the biggest. The 32-year-old has played almost 200 NRL games, and turned out for New South Wales and Australia. Is he just over here for one final pay day before going home? Personally, I don’t think so, and I can see him being right up there in the Man of Steel reckoning come the end of the year.

Edwin Ipape was outstanding in his first year in Super League, and was the competition’s standout hooker. So much so, that he rightfully earned his place in the Dream Team alongside five of his teammates. The challenge this year is to back it up again, and I’m confident that the Papua New Guinea international will do just that.

Young gun

Lewis Baxter has arrived from St Helens in the off-season, and after three appearances in two years for the Saints, the 21-year-old forward will be looking to get some regular first grade games with the Leopards this year.

Our prediction – 6th

Leigh could be something of an unknown quantity this year, given the possibility of ‘second season syndrome’ but I reckon they’re up there to stay. The squad has been kept largely intact from last year, and the arrival of Matt Moylan is huge. Add in one of Super League’s best wingers, Josh Charnley, plus the four other Dream Team entries from 2023, and the Leopards’ squad looks stronger than most.

Darren Notley

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