LONDON, ENGLAND – Leigh Centurions’ run as one of the most dominant forces in rugby league came to an end recently, thanks to a supreme effort by the London Broncos. The Centurions were expected to travel down to London and bag another momentous win to move closer to a rugby league record. However, things didn’t work out that way.
After the home side stormed to a 16-0 lead within 23 minutes, a win for the visitors looked almost impossible. Jonny Pownall, Tom Armstrong and Gregg McNally all did their best to redress the deficit and helped the Centurions notch up 20 points. But unfortunately that total was nine short of the Broncos’ final haul.
Leigh the Betting Favourites
For anyone looking at the form book, the Centurions were the runaway betting favourites before the game and many expected the winning streak to continue. However, rugby league, especially the Super League, often has a habit of throwing up surprises and that was certainly the case against the Broncos.
Although the loss of Gareth Hock and Fuifui Moimoi didn’t seem to be a major blow on paper, their presence was sorely missed and the Centurions seemed to lack a sense of urgency and strength in the early stages of the match. That initial mistake ultimately led to the demise of the Centurions and the end of a highly impressive win streak.
For many fans of rugby league, Wigan’s 29-game winning run back in 1987 is still seen as a record and the Centurions looked like one of the most likely sides to beat that record.
However, now the side has lost its streak, many are questioning whether that will affect the players in the coming weeks. With a crunch Challenge Cup match against Warrington scheduled for June, the Centurions will need to regroup. According to the latest markets, Leigh Centurions are 40/1 for the Challenge Cup while Warrington are priced at 5/2.
A Question of Confidence
This disparity in the betting market may not reflect the relative strength of the teams on the pitch, but the loss to the London Broncos could certainly hamper the minds of the Centurions players. There’s a lot to be said for momentum in sport and while there aren’t any tangible traits you can lay your hat on when discussing momentum, it’s an undeniable factor in the world of sport.
Similarly, having this momentum unexpectedly stopped, can have the opposite effect on an individual or a team’s confidence and cause them to spiral out of control. This fact, coupled with the Centurions’ relatively uninspiring form in the Challenge Cup, has led to the bookmakers pitching the side as 40/1 outsiders for the Cup. Does this mean the writing is on the wall? Definitely not. In fact, a side looking to avenge an unexpected loss can be highly dangerous and that may make the Centurions a good bet against Warrington.
Regardless of the result or the betting, the latest upset by the Broncos and the forthcoming match for the Centurions just goes to show that rugby league as a sport is more interesting than ever.