27 Feb 2021

Fantasy League: Leigh Centurions

New boys Leigh Centurions join Super League this season for the first time since 2017. Their squad has changed since the last time they were in the top flight, with a chunk of their team making the move up from the Championship.

They have added several familiar faces to their 2021 squad and will be hoping to lean on that Super League experience to fight for their place in Super League in 2022 and beyond.

Top performers

Ryan Brierley

2020 points: 301

Brierley will occupy the number 1 shirt for the Centurions this season - indicating that he will start the season as their first choice full back. If that is the case, he could be an interesting prospect for 2021. Brierley’s greatest threat lies in his running ability and support play - and he will have more license to roam the field and take the line on more if he's  occupying the full back position.

Averaging a modest 30.1 points-per-game with Hull KR last year, he recorded 6 clean breaks and scored 3 tries - numbers which should show improvement the more he is involved in the contest. An exciting player in open field, Brierley could prove to be a good fantasy scorer in 2021. 

Matty Russell

2020 points: 224

Russell played 6 Super League games in 2020 for Toronto during the early parts of the season. Prior to his arrival at the Wolfpack in 2018, he spent 4 years with Warrington Wolves. Not renowned as a prolific try scorer during that period, Russell’s threat lies in his running game. In his 6 games during 2020, he amassed 26 tackle busts, 4 clean breaks, 542 metres and 83 carries.

His hard-working effort in attack will be crucial if Leigh are to make good metres down the pitch this season. The modern-day winger is expected to make plenty of carries in a game, and Russell’s bustling playing style compliments that-  you can expect him to score well in fantasy even if he isn’t scoring tries.

Joe Mellor

2020 points: 79

On the face of it, Mellor’s 2020 overall points looks disappointing. However, he only played in 2 of Toronto’s fixtures in the early part of the season – and his second appearance ended prematurely because of injury.

The Centurions half does have the potential to score well in fantasy if he stays fit for most of the year. He is a player that packs a punch in attack and defence – he made 12 carries and 70 metres in the opening round last season – along with 30 tackles in that game, a huge effort for a playmaker. His experience will be needed in 2021 and you can expect him to have his hand in everything Leigh do as well as receiving plenty of attention from his opposition when he’s defending. 

Adam Sidlow

2020 points: 355

Sidlow was a popular fantasy forward early in 2020, his hard work in the middle third for the Wolfpack made him a consistently high points scorer. Averaging 59.1 points-per-game in his 6 appearances last year, Sidlow was an under the radar prop that offered a huge return. 

His defence was his main asset in 2020 – Sidlow averaged 31 tackles a game – equating to over half his weekly total. He made 501 metres from 72 carries and averaged just over 50 minutes of game time a week – big minutes for a front rower. If he adapts to the increase in pace brought on by mid-season rule changes last year, he should have another strong fantasy season in 2021. 

Tyrone McCarthy

2020 points: 669

McCarthy joins Leigh after a hugely successful stint at Salford – the Irish international helping the Red Devils reach a Grand Final and Challenge Cup final in his last two seasons. He joins Leigh with a wealth of Super League experience and will be an integral part of their 2021 squad.

He averaged 44.6 points-per-game in 2020 with his defence being the focal point of his fantasy scoring. Much will rely on McCarthy playing big minutes for the Centurions – he averaged just under 60 minutes of game time in 2020 with similar minutes needed if he is to achieve mid to high 40 point weeks in fantasy again this season. 

One to watch

Keanan Brand

2020 points: 88

Brand featured 3 times for Warrington in 2020 - he heads to Leigh on a season-long loan in the hope for regular game time in Super League. He's a highly rated centre who should get a regular spot in the Leigh side this season, which should allow him to settle into his role and showcase his ability.

The young outside back made 229 metres from 29 carries last year, along with 43 tackles in his 3 appearances. He will be a cheaper option at centre and, if he can cement his place in the Leigh side, could offer great value at a reduced cost.