Features / Rugby League

Leigh Centurions forward James Green ‘loves’ rugby league again since his switch from Hull KR

Green (left) has signed a two-year deal with the Leigh Centurions. Photo credit: Paul McCarthy Photography.

James Green has admitted his love for rugby league has been reignited following his move to Leigh Centurions from Hull Kingston Rovers.

The 26-year-old moved to the newly-promoted Super League side in the off-season, after Rovers were relegated following their defeat to Salford in the Million Pound Game.

Green made his debut for the Robins back in 2012 and went on to make 81 appearances while scoring three tries for the club.

The front-rower admitted he has started enjoying his rugby again with the main reason being the difference in team spirit at Leigh.

“This is probably the most excited I have been about my rugby for quite a while,” Green said.

“I went through a bit of a rough patch last year and I kind of fell out of love with rugby but I think I have made the right decision in coming here, everyone is very positive and it is a great journey to be a part of.

“The reason why it [the move] excited me so much was the build-up in getting into Super League and how much it was celebrated and how much it meant to these people.”

Green continued by explaining how much time and effort the owner Derek Beaumont gives in order to help the club achieve as much success as possible.

“Derek [Beaumont] bleeds the club and that comes from the top down and there is just a real buzz about the place,” he added.

“Leigh are enjoying where they are at the minute. Don’t get me wrong, we want to win things and we want to stay in Super League but we are going to enjoy every step of the way.”

The former Skirlaugh Bulls amateur, who spent time on loan at Workington Town, Batley Bulldogs and Gateshead [now Newcastle] Thunder while with Rovers, was part of the squad that reached the 2015 Challenge Cup final.

Green was also in the KR side that was relegated following a one-point defeat against Salford Red Devils in the Million Pound Game last season but he has insisted that promotion and relegation is good for rugby league.

He added: “I think it is a good idea because if you have got nothing to play for then why perform?

“It goes to show for teams like Leigh, if there was no promotion and relegation then why would Leigh be spending the money they are?

“Now Super League teams have to embrace the privilege of playing in that league and continue working hard to avoid relegation.”

The forward scooped the Young Player of the Year award with the Robins in just his second season as a professional player and quickly became a regular.

Despite Green thinking the Middle 8s structure is great for the sport, he also admitted it has it’s flaws.

“I think it was a bit unfair on Hull KR to be honest,” said Green.

“If you look at the league table by the back end of the Super League season, they were above Huddersfield [Giants] as it stood so if the format was straight up and down then Hull KR would have been safe and rightfully so.

“It should go on for the long-term throughout the year and not just your last seven games but that was the format everyone agreed to at the start of the season so we knew what we were in for.”

Robins star Ben Cockayne and director of rugby Jamie Peacock publicly complained about the Middle 8s during the competition, with the latter claiming that ‘relegation has no place in rugby league’.

However, Green has gone against his old colleagues in the debate and has said that it is part and parcel of life.

“If you don’t do your job well and are not performing very well then you get sacked at the end of the day and that is no different here,” he said.

“The only criticism I would have is that the system gets left that late in the year, some players don’t have anywhere to go or they take huge pay-cuts but I think that is the only bit that needs fixing really.

“There needs to be some sort of pathway for players that do get relegated and don’t have a club, whether that is financially or another route to go down.”

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